Downtown murder sparks resident's request for more police presence

Brian Holmes (Source: MySpace)
Brian Holmes (Source: MySpace)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The man shot dead Monday morning on Charleston's eastside is the son of a minister at a North Charleston church and president of the SC Baptist convention.

The victim, 33-year-old Brian Holmes was gunned down in his car on America Street. Police do not have a motive or a suspect. Tuesday, a man who lives at the spot where the victim died is pressing for more police patrols.

Tim Cuzmar says he was fast asleep early Monday morning when police officers knocked on the front door of his America Street home in downtown Charleston.

"All I saw was a car right there and the cops banging on everybody's door," Cuzmar said.

Inside the car was 33-year-old Brian Holmes, who police say was shot before he crashed into Cuzar's car. Holmes was a 2000 graduate of The Citadel and is the son of SC Baptist Convention president and North Charleston minister Sonny Holmes.

"They kept on moving the body around," he said. "They were trying to see what's going on ... you could tell he was obviously dead."

Even though the crime happened right in front of his house, Cuzar wasn't totally surprised.

"You get a lot of stuff that happens here so it's not that surprising," Cuzar said. "I would say you just happen to kind of assume it does happen here."

About a week and a half ago Cuzar received a flier from Charleston Mayor Joe Riley's re-election campaign asking what matters to him in his neighborhood. After Monday's murder, Cuzar decided to write back to riley.

"I basically just spilled out my guts for about an hour and a half writing that e-mail," Cuzar said.

Among other things, he asked for help to reduce the crime rate by putting more foot and bike patrols in the neighborhood.

"Having the cops being able to react more than getting outside of their car is a little bit more helpful. Just seeing the cops more here, it's going to obviously clean up the crime a lot more."

Police Chief Greg Mullen said that officers on bikes and foot have been working the neighborhood long before the murder happened and continue to do so.

"We probably have more officers in that particular area than we do in a lot of larger areas simply because we are really trying to work with the community," Mullen said.

Cuzar says the murder won't make him move away and he still has high hopes for the neighborhood.

"I just want to see it cleaned up where people can live where they can walk the streets they want anywhere," Cuzar said.

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