Father of 21-year-old killed in 2021 pleas for witnesses to come forward

A Montgomery County father is asking neighbors to stop and take a moment to think about where they were the morning his son was murdered as police need more help solving a murder that happened on school grounds last year.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

The son killed is 21-year-old Martin Nolan. He was a former Walter Johnson High School student who left school when his mother became sick. People in the community tell FOX 5 Martin was well-known and liked.

"He crossed all ethnic-economic lines with his friendships," says father Kevin Nolan. "He stopped kids from being bullied. He hung out with special needs at Walter Johnson just to make them feel part of – make them feel included."

Martin was hanging out in the Highland Elementary School parking lot after attending a party with friends, a common practice among young people in the area. FOX 5 is told some may have been drinking.

Kevin says his son was backed into a parking spot just before 5:40 a.m. on Jan. 14, 2021 when police said someone went to the open driver-side window and pointed a gun at Martin's head saying, "Where’s Christian?"

READ MORE: 16-year-old Alexandria City High School student charged with murder for fatally stabbing classmate

Kevin Nolan, after talking with his son’s friends and police, does not believe his son knew who this person was. Police say the suspect then pistol-whipped the 21-year-old. Martin tried to drive off but was shot.

"Every time he walked in a room, didn't matter if he knew anybody or if he knew everybody but when he leaves, everybody’s going to know him even if it’s just for five minutes. He made friends no matter where he was at," says Martin Nolan’s younger brother, Nicolas Nolan. The younger brother talked with FOX 5 via Zoom from Hawaii, where he is currently serving as an Army Specialist. "It really affected me deeply because I feel like I was just now starting to get a relationship with my brother and as it started it was taken away from me."

Kevin Nolan told FOX 5 if he ever met the suspect, he would tell that person he forgives them. 

READ MORE: Family of slain 16-year-old rapper speaks out on street violence

"Everybody wants justice. It could happen to anybody at any time just minding your own business, which he was doing that day," he says, "Ultimately God will give the justice but we can’t have people who would just do something like this running the streets. It could be anyone’s child any time."

Police believe Nolan was an unintended target. Sources tell FOX 5 they believe police are getting closer to the suspect but believe there are one or two witnesses out there who have not come forward it. It may have been a person walking their dog that morning or leaving early for work.

The family is pleading for neighbors or witnesses to come forward to help close this investigation, which has now been going on for about 18 months.


Kevin Nolan also told FOX 5 there was a friend in the car who ran away and was shot at, trying to get help.