By Ralph Iannotti

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LOWER BURRELL (KDKA) – City Hall and the police station are draped in black bunting, and all around the New Kensington area, there are signs and tributes to hero police Officer Brian Shaw.

He was gunned down last Friday night after trying to pull over a vehicle. The suspect, 29-year-old Rahmael Sal Holt, was taken into custody Tuesday morning after a days-long manhunt.

Mayor Tom Guzzo said the last four days have been extremely difficult on the community, but now the grieving process can begin.

“I’m just happy for the Shaw family, first of all. I think they have been waiting for this news for all these, these last several days. It’ll bring some closure to them. The community has just been – I’m so proud of our community, the City of New Kensington today can breathe a sigh of relief,” Mayor Guzzo said.

Officer Shaw was a rookie police officer. He was hired only a few months ago and his first day on the job was July 1. He quickly made an impression with his motivation, positive attitude and infectious smile.

His patrol car is parked outside the funeral home and is draped in black ribbons.

Near the spot where Officer Shaw fell, there’s a small memorial to him on the church fence.

A few miles away, at a funeral home in Lower Burrell, there was a steady and long stream of mourners for Tuesday’s final visitation. Officer Shaw will be laid to rest on Wednesday.

KDKA’s Bob Allen Reports —

“Law enforcement is a family. It’s a tight-knit bond of men and women, and it doesn’t get much tighter than that,” said Retired Hyde Park Borough Police Chief Anthony Buyny. “I didn’t know Brian personally, but these are brothers and sisters, and I’m here to offer support and show my respect.”

Michael McLauglin brought his son, Jaden, to the visitation. He said he went to high school with Officer Shaw and used to play soccer with him.

McLaughlin, from Lower Burrell, said, “I felt Brian was a genuine man. He cared about everybody and did everything he could to help others when they were in need.”

At Mount St. Peter Church, Bishop Edward Malesic, of the Greensburg Roman Catholic Diocese, will be the funeral mass celebrant and deliver the homily.

The community, as a whole, is trying to regain some sort of normalcy, even as it continues to grieve and prepares to say its final goodbyes.

Tracy Ellis and her children showed up at the New Kensington Police Station on Tuesday night with cookies and brownies for the officers.

Ellis said while the “shooting hit us hard, we’ll pull together and get things done that need to get done.”

“I want the citizens of New Kensington to know that soon they’ll be seeing us back out there on the street, knocking on your door about barking dogs, reporting any type of incident in the city. We will be back,” New Kensington Police Chief Jim Klein said.

The City of Pittsburgh is also standing with the New Kensington community. They lit the City-County Building in blue Tuesday night to show their support for Officer Shaw and all the people mourning his loss.

Meanwhile, back in Westmoreland County, many community members are breathing easier now that a suspect is behind bars.

“It’s a wonderful feeling that they caught the individual, and I’m sorry for the family and the officer. We send our grievances to them,” Ralph Delorme, a community member, said.

“I think that’s good to get him off the streets and to get the due process going,” said John Pastorek, another mourner.

But he says it still doesn’t ease the family’s pain of losing a love one.

“That’s where our thoughts were, with this young man and his life, not with the guy that they got in custody,” Pastorek said. “I didn’t even think of that really, of who that was or why they have him.”

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