Suspected Gunman Sought by Police in Shooting of Grammy Rapper Nipsey Hussle, Source Says
IBexclusive News Monday April 01, 2019.
(IBEXNews) - Police believe they know who gunned down Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle, a law enforcement source told the Daily News on Monday.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said LAPD homicide detectives have a suspect in their sights – and it’s someone Hussle “knows.”
The murder may ultimately be classified as “gang-related” because Hussle had a prior gang affiliation, the source said, but it doesn’t appear the hit stemmed from a “rival gang” as much as a personal “deal gone wrong."
The suspect was not in custody as of Monday morning, the source said.
Hussle, 33, was shot outside his Los Angeles store, Marathon Clothing, around 3:20 p.m on Sunday. The shooting injured two other people, police said.
Hussle — whose real name is Ermias Asghedom — was slated to meet with the LAPD on Monday to discuss a plan of action for dealing with gang violence in the area.
Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff told The News the meeting was still slated to happen Monday afternoon.
“The meeting will happen today, and I think it will be the same participants, less one. It’s such a sad day,” Soboroff said in a phone interview.
The commissioner dismissed the suggestion the meeting had anything to do with Hussle’s death.
“Nobody knew. I can’t imagine he was walking around town saying he was going to have this meeting. Nobody knew about the meeting,” Soboroff told The News.
“It’s such a sad loss,” he continued. “We’ve been working on the meeting for three months. All I know is that he seemed to have so many great ideas on his mind, and we are very receptive to community policing programs in at-risk areas. He wanted to help under-served youth and adults. It’s just unbelievable.”
Soboroff said the meeting was due to include representatives from Jay Z’s Roc Nation, but he declined to name any names.
“My hope is that in his honor, for his legacy and his memory, the result will be far more than he anticipated,” Soboroff said, referring to Hussle and his push for the meeting.
“They reached out. It was different because his background included gang membership,” he said. “We’re in the business of building trust in communities. They wanted to get us to work together to keep this kind of violence down, and I had good feelings about it. And expectations. So did the chief, so we did agree to have the meeting. Now it’s going to happen in a different way.”
He said the “sad part” is that the meeting probably could have been scheduled for last Friday, and if that had happened, maybe Hussle’s weekend schedule would have changed.
“Let’s say it would have been a great meeting. Then maybe we said Sunday we’ll be doing this or that. Who knows, maybe he wouldn’t have been there (for the shooting). That’s part of the tragedy,” Soboroff said.
A Los Angeles native, Hussle was no stranger to gang life, as he explained in a 2014 interview. He told Vlad TV he used to be part of the Rollins’ 60s, which The L.A. Times describes as “a notorious Crips gang clique.”
Community activist Malik Spellman said Hussle gave most of his money back to the community.
“The man was instrumental in a lot of stuff. Fighting gentrification, trying to stop gang violence. The facts are he was a good person,” Spellman said.
Hussle was working on multiple community initiatives including helping to lead the Destination Crenshaw art project and Vector 90, a 2018 co-working space he started to serve as a conduit between underrepresented people and the technology sector.
The day he died, Hussle eerily tweeted, “Having strong enemies is a blessing.”
Several prominent music and celebrity figures paid their respects to the artist via social media, including Rihanna, Justin Bieber, John Legend and more.
Hussle was nominated for the best rap album Grammy following his 2018 debut “Victory Lap.” He is survived by children Emani and Kross and his girlfriend, actress Lauren London.