LOS ANGELES – Musicians, athletes, politicians and police Monday mourned the death of Rapper Nipsey Hussle in a shooting outside his clothing store in South Los Angeles in which two other men were wounded while African- American community activists urged the shooter to turn himself in.
The shootings happened about 3:20 p.m. Sunday in the 3400 block of West Slauson Avenue, near Crenshaw Boulevard in the Hyde Park area, in front of The Marathon Clothing, a business Hussle opened in 2017, authorities said.
Witnesses said a young man approached to within a short distance of Hussle and the two men before firing a number of shots and fleeing to a nearby vehicle, prompting suspicion the killing was gang-related. One of the two wounded men was hospitalized in stable condition but the other refused hospital transport, sources from the Los Angeles police and fire departments told City News Service.
The 33-year-old Hussle, a father of two whose birth name was Ermias Asghedon, was pronounced dead at a hospital.
A suspect described only as a male black is being sought, the LAPD’s Chris Ramirez told reporters. A motive for the shooting was not immediately determined, he said.
A coalition of African-American community leaders planned a news conference at 10 a.m. in a US Bank parking lot near the crime scene to call on the shooter to turn himself in. They will call for an immediate end to black on black violence, Project Islamic Hope CEO Najee Ali said.
The Grammy-nominated Hussle was from the Crenshaw neighborhood and worked on music with members of both the Crips and Blood gangs, TMZ reported.
Before he was shot, Hussle tweeted: “Having strong enemies is a blessing.”
After news broke that Hussle died, a stream of condolences flooded the Internet.
Los Angeles Lakers all-star forward LeBron James tweeted, “So, so SAD man!! DAMN man this hurt.”
The rapper Drake posted on Instagram, “My whole energy is just at a low right now hearing this. We just linked for the first time in years and said we were gonna do a new song this summer cause it had been too long. I’m only doing this here cause I want the world to know I saw you as a man of respect and a don. Rest easy …”
Singer Rihanna tweeted, “This doesn’t make any sense! My spirit is shaken by this! Dear God may his spirit rest in peace and may you grant divine comfort to all his loved ones! I’m so sorry this happened to you.
Singer/Musician Pharrell Williams tweeted, “You were about something positive and for your community in every chance you had to speak … and because of that you inspired millions … millions who will uphold your legacy forever, Rest amongst the stars.”
Rapper Megatron told reporters at the scene, “Every time I met him (Nipsey) it was love. He was all about helping people.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted, “Our hearts are with the loved ones of Nipsey Hussle and everyone touched by this awful tragedy. L.A. is hurt deeply each time a young life is lost to senseless gun violence.”
“My Crisis Response Team is assisting the families coping with shock and grief,” Garcetti added.
As homicide detectives investigated the shooting, Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore noted it “represents the latest loss in a troubling surge in violence. Since last Sunday 26 victims have been shot and 10 homicides.” He promised to “work aggressively with our community to quell this senseless loss of life.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who represents South Los Angeles, released a statement calling for restraint in the aftermath of Hussle’s killing.
“I urge calm and a period of reflection,” Ridley-Thomas said. “Violent retaliation for this event will not be tolerated. Our communities have lost too many young men and bright futures to the scourge of gun violence. For healing to occur, even from this terrible incident, justice must be sought through legal means, and community peace must be found.
“I am in contact with law enforcement officials who will provide all the necessary assistance,” Ridley-Thomas said. “And I ask members of the public to come forward with any information related to this incident or any emerging retaliatory response.”
Hundreds of fans congregated outside the clothing store, playing his songs and leaving flowers.
Hussle transformed himself from a Rollin’ 60s Crip to a rap musician and channeled his success into efforts to help other stay out of gangs, according to the Los Angeles Times. He bought shoes for students, re-paved basketball courts and provided jobs and shelter for the homeless, the newspaper reported. He helped renovate a Mid-City roller rink and redeveloped the strip mall that housed his Marathon Clothing shop where he was fatally wounded.