Nipsey Hussle memorial planned for Staples Center

LOS ANGELES –Staples Center officials are not confirming a media report that a public memorial service for slain rapper Nipsey Hussle is being planned for Thursday at the downtown arena.

TMZ reported Saturday that the event will be open only to those who acquire tickets from a website to be announced later. Cara Vanderhook, VP of marketing and communications for Staples Center and Microsoft Theater, would not confirm the report when reached by media.

TMZ also reported that a meeting was held Wednesday with Hussle’s family, Staples officials and officials with the Los Angeles Police Department to discuss logistics and security for the event. LAPD officials could not be reached Saturday to confirm that report.

Staples Center was the site of a memorial for Michael Jackson in 2009.

The 33-year-old rapper — whose real name is Ermias Joseph Asghedom — was fatally shot last Sunday in front of The Marathon Clothing store he owned in the 3400 block of West Slauson Avenue, in the Hyde Park area of Los Angeles.

On Thursday, 29-year-old Eric Ronald Holder Jr. pleaded not guilty to one count each of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, along with two counts of attempted murder. The charges include an allegation that Holder personally and intentionally discharged a handgun which caused great bodily injury and death to the rapper.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sullivan ordered Holder to be jailed in lieu of $5 million bail while awaiting his next court appearance May 10, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial.

Holder, an aspiring rapper, could face a potential life prison sentence if convicted as charged, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Holder got into some type of personal dispute with the rapper outside the store, then left and returned with a handgun. Hussle was shot in the head and body and died at a hospital, according to police and the coroner’s office.

The police chief declined to discuss the nature of the disagreement between Holder and Hussle but stressed the shooting appeared to be a result of that dispute, not any type of gang rivalry or feud.

“We believe this to be a dispute between Mr. Hussle and Mr. Holder,” Moore said. “I’m not going to go into the conversations, but it appears to be a personal matter between the two of them.”

Hussle transformed himself from a South Los Angeles gang member to a rap musician and channeled his success into efforts to help others stay out of gangs. He bought shoes for students, re-paved basketball courts and provided jobs and shelter for the homeless.

Hussle helped renovate a Mid-City roller rink and redeveloped the strip mall that housed his Marathon Clothing shop where he was fatally wounded.

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