2 brothers recalled as close, forgiving

Family grieves, prepares for double funeral

December 22, 2006|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,Sun reporter

Both brothers loved to fix cars. They labored side by side at their garage in East Baltimore. Both came to the United States from Jamaica looking for a better life. Both were forgiving, almost to a fault.

"They worked real well together. They would tell jokes about each other," said Samuel Murdock, a relative. "They were close."

But five days before Christmas, Ralston and Everton R. Holder were killed. First, the older brother, Ralston, 52, was fatally shot at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of his Northeast Baltimore apartment complex as his 3-year-old son sat in a truck.

Almost three hours later, Everton, 41, was hunted down and shot at his auto shop on the east side. His blood was still on the sidewalk yesterday. Another man who worked at the shop was wounded.

"This is ludicrous, really ludicrous," said Tami Holder, Everton Holder's wife.

She said the 3-year-old was physically unharmed.

"He's in shock, though," Tami Holder said.

The child's father, Ralston Holder, has two other children and a girlfriend. He had returned to his apartment after dropping her off at the airport when he was killed. She was flying in from Jamaica yesterday.

Tami Holder said she worried for her husband's life when she found out that his brother had been killed that morning.

"I think he knew something was going to happen," she said.

She declined to say why.

Matt Jablow, a spokesman for the city police, said the department was not reporting any new developments in the case yesterday.

"We're not going to comment on the investigation at this point," he said in an e-mail. "It's an extremely active investigation."

At Everton Holder's Northeast Baltimore home yesterday, some relatives could be heard wailing. Tami Holder was composed as she looked through bags of family snapshots. One showed her husband at the beach in Florida. Another showed him dressed up at formal dinner. In another, he was squeezing his wife's shoulder.

"We're going to do a slideshow at the funeral," she said.

"No, that'll make me cry," said Everton II, one of the couple's five children.

Relatives are planning a double funeral for the men, but arrangements had not been finalized last night.

The two brothers spent most of their days together at their body shop on the 3300 block of E. Fayette St. Nearby merchants said the two were amicable and would often invite store owners to join them for beers on Fridays. They would sometimes work 16-hour days.

Juan Urena, who owns a store across the street from the brothers' repair shop, said Everton Holder would often consult with him on business. Ralston Holder, he said, "was like a big kid - you never saw him mad."

Urena was working Wednesday when Everton Holder was shot. He said he saw one man chase another man, then heard gunfire and called 911. "I didn't even know it was [Everton]," he said. "I don't understand why that happened."

Both men were born in Jamaica. Their father had a bus company, and their mother, who is dead, owned a small store, Tami Holder said.

Everton Holder, known as Cliff to his friends, came to the United States in October 1990, met his future wife a month later and immediately went to work fixing cars in East Baltimore.

Ralston Holder - who was known as Roy - left Jamaica 30 years ago, first living in New York. He drove a cab and loved dancing at city nightclubs on his off-time. "He was a very fun loving guy," Tami Holder recalled.

In 1999, Ralston Holder moved to Baltimore and joined his brother at the shop, Tami Holder said. He didn't know much about fixing cars, but his younger brother, always patient and calm, taught him the trade.

"They shared everything," Tami Holder said. "They ate together every day. They partied together. They did everything together."

Another friend, Raphael Patrick, said Ralston Holder "always smiled at me."

"Even when he had a bad day he always smiled at me," Patrick said.

Ralston Holder would take Patrick aside and buy him a beer. People knew him as Daddy Roy or Big Daddy Roy, Patrick said.

At the shop, the brothers offered towing services and some mechanical repairs, but they made their reputation doing bodywork.

"[Everton Holder] was a genius at it," Murdock said. He once bought two Lexuses that had been severly damaged in separate accidents. One had a good front end, the other had a good back end.

"He cut them in half and made one car," Murdock said. "I had never believed anybody could do that."

The brothers were known to help people. A mechanic who worked there became homeless - and Everton Holder insisted that he stay at the shop. Sometimes they would do work for free or at steep discounts when customers didn't have insurance.

"It put more stress on me," said Tami Holder, who works as an appraiser and a real estate agent, "but I know his heart, and I wouldn't change the person that he was."

The couple was playful together. They'd go on vacations and were planning a family trip to Jamaica in August.

Tami Holder said her husband loved reggae and also had a soft spot for the Stevie Wonder song "I Just Called To Say I Love You." Sometimes he'd call his wife from the shop and start singing it to her.

annie.linskey@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Gus G. Sentementes contributed to this article.

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