Crime & Courts

CEO shot in uptown Charlotte has died, cops say. Jailed teen charged with murder.

The CEO shot in uptown Charlotte on Monday has died at Carolinas Medical Center, police said Saturday afternoon.

John Waldron Holaday of Bethesda, Md., was the founder and CEO of a company that counts Walmart and Walgreen’s among its clients. The company, headquartered in Sanford, is called DisposeRx.

The 74-year-old Holaday was shot just before 4 p.m., as he stood near a restaurant fire scene on North College Street, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. CMPD said the shooting and the fire were unrelated but first responders were able to reach Holaday “almost immediately due to their close proximity.”

Officials with DisposeRx told the Observer Tuesday that Holaday “was the innocent victim of a random shooting while walking to a business meeting.” Holaday remained in critical condition all week, according to DisposeRx officials.

In a statement Saturday, DisposeRx officials said Holaday died on Friday.

“Words cannot describe the immense sadness and grief we feel in losing our leader, mentor, colleague and friend,” DisposeRx President William Simpson said in the statement.

“While we will continue to struggle with the senseless and tragic way in which John died, we will honor him every day in the way that we operate and represent DisposeRx,” Simpson said. “We are more committed than ever to fulfilling his dreams.”

Arrests made

Although the fire Monday in uptown and the shooting were unrelated, CMPD said first responders were able to reach Holaday almost immediately due to them being on the block already for the kitchen fire.

As crews battled the fire, shots rang out. The fire started at Rooster’s Wood-Fire Kitchen on North College Street, near the Bank of America Center, Observer news partner WBTV reported.

Police told media outlets that Holaday was an innocent bystander, and may have been hit by a bullet that was fired inside the nearby Epicentre dining and entertainment complex, WBTV reported.

On Tuesday, police charged 16-year-old Raheem Shacklette in connection with the shooting, according to Mecklenburg County jail records.

“Shacklette was one of the several subjects initially detained by officers,” according to a police news release. He was charged with attempted murder, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a minor.

Two other teens and a 20-year-old were arrested and charged with public affray, which CMPD defined in a news release as “a fight with at least one person in a public place that disturbs the peace.” Those charged, according to CMPD, were 17-year-old Taizojh Smith, 19-year-old Hazeem Shacklette and Ulondis Edwards.

It’s unclear whether Hazeem and Raheem Shacklette are related.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, police said they wanted to assure uptown workers and visitors the shooting was rare.

“Charlotte is safe,” CMPD Capt. Julie Barry said. “It is a safe city.”

“We’re going to continue to combat these crimes that are taking place that are completely unnecessary,” Barry said.

CEO visited White House last year

Holaday’s DisposeRx is a company that helps people eliminate potentially-addictive or dangerous drugs from their medicine cabinets after they no longer need their prescription pills.

In March 2018, Holaday testified in front of members of Congress during a hearing on opioids and prescription drug abuse. Also last year, Holaday was one of several people invited to the White House when President Donald Trump signed into law opioid-related legislation.

Testifying before Congress, Holaday said: “The country’s in crisis, not only from opioid addictions, but from the dangers of prescription drug abuse.”

Earlier this year, in an interview with MedicalResearch.com, Holaday said: “DisposeRx is an eco-friendly at-home disposal solution that renders drugs unavailable in their medicine vial, and it is given (free of charge) at the pharmacy counter when the medications are dispensed.”

Once prescription pills are placed in the DisposeRx packet, he said, the “drugs are simply discarded in the trash, ending up in landfills where they slowly degrade.”

In Saturday’s statement, DisposeRx Chief Financial Officer Denis Connaghan said the company “would like to express our sincere appreciation to the emergency responders and staff of Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center for the amazing care and compassion that they showed to John and his family during the most difficult of days.”

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