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Blair Holt Honored 10 Years After He Was Killed On Bus Protecting Classmate

By Howard Ludwig | May 10, 2017 12:02pm | Updated on May 12, 2017 11:36am
Blair Holt Street Naming Ceremony
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Blair Holt boarded a bus outside of Percy Julian High School in Washington Heights exactly ten years ago Wednesday. Seven blocks later, he was killed.

Holt, 16, was shot while using himself as a human shield, protecting a friend when Michael Pace boarded the bus and opened fire. Four other Julian students were also shot as Pace sought to settle a gang dispute.

A decade after the fatal shooting that was captured on surveillance video, the street outside of the high school at 10330 S. Elizabeth St. was named in Holt's honor.

"It's not that we want [that sign] to be up there. It shouldn't be up there," said his father Ron Holt — a commander with the Chicago Police Department.

He hopes the sign reminds passersby of his only-child and serves as a deterrent to those who might consider picking up a gun to solve a problem. Ron Holt also credited the police for finding his son's murderer.

Ron Holt, the father of the late Blair Holt, speaks about his son and the violence that took his life a decade ago. The street outside of Percy Julian High School in Washington Heights was named for Blair Holt Wednesday. [DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig]

Blair's mother, Annette Nance-Holt, was also on hand. She works as a battalion chief with the Chicago Fire Department and fought back tears as she remembered her son who was planning to attend Georgia's Clark Atlanta University.

"It's been 10 years but the pain is just as unbearable," Nance-Holt said. "They took everything from us when they took my son."

Since 2012, Blair Holt's alma mater has hosted a day of peace in his honor. That day was extended to a full week last year, said Donna Gentry, Julian's family and community counselor. The Holt family also awarded four scholarships in Blair's honor this year.

Christine Goggins first met Blair Holt in seventh grade. She's convinced the pair would still be close friends if he were alive and smiled at the thought of their 10-year high school reunion. Still, she remained upset by the violence that took his life and continues to plague the city.

"I just want to say anyone who has passed a gun to someone else, you ought to be ashamed of yourself," Goggins said Wednesday. "I miss Blair so much."