"It sucks, but that's the system."
That was Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood's characterization of a series of events that led a man who was released from police custody yesterday to steal a car hours later and hold up five people at gunpoint before he was shot to death by police at a mini mart.
Yesterday morning, Aikee Holloman, 23, was released from police custody in Philadelphia on his own recognisance for allegedly stealing a car, Chitwood said. Hours later, just before 6 p.m., thanks to a careless owner, Holloman was able to steal a 2006 Toyota Avalon on Torresdale Avenue that was left with the keys in the ignition, police said.
Not only did the owner, who is a licensed security guard, leave the keys in the ignition, but unfortunately, for the next several people Holloman came in contact with, the owner had also left two handguns in the trunk, police said.
Between 10:16 and 10:36 p.m., Holloman terrorized five people at various Upper Darby gas stations and mini marts, flashing a gun in his waistband and demanding money, police said. The first couple he tried to rob at a Hess gas station on State Road told him they didn't have any money and the male victim, police said, even told Holloman to "get a job."
"It was very ballsy of that guy," Chitwood said.
In the course of the remaining three robberies, Holloman got a small bit of cash and one of the victim's ATM cards, police said.
Around 10:58 p.m., cops on patrol along West Chester Pike spotted the stolen vehicle at an A Plus mini mart and saw Holloman inside the store, Chitwood said. Upon seeing the officers, Holloman allegedly ducked down.
When cops entered the store and repeatedly asked Holloman to show his hands, he refused, police said. When Ofc. David Snyder, 49, saw him reach for what he believed was a gun, he shot Holloman two times, once in the side and once in the calf, Chitwood said.
Holloman was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was pronounced dead. Police said that Holloman did not have a weapon on him when he was shot, but one of the guns was recovered from the front seat of the stolen vehicle.
"He had a busy night," Chitwood said. "His day was filled with violence and robberies and ended in his subsequent death."
Chitwood said that while the officers were equipped with Taser guns, he does not fault them for not using them first.
"You do not take a Taser to a gun fight," he said. "And with the information the officers had prior to this ... I think they did an outstanding job and I think they did the right job."