Man suspected of killing rapper Nipsey Hussle arrested

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LOS ANGELES — Eric Holder, the man police think fatally shot rapper Nipsey Hussle on Sunday has been arrested, Los Angeles police announced Tuesday.

“Thank you to both our community for the heightened awareness/vigilance, and our partners at @LASDHQ,” police said in the tweet, which included the words “In custody” over Holder’s face.

Hussle and the man suspected of killing him knew each other, and the shooting appears to be the product of a personal dispute, Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore told reporters Tuesday morning.

Moore declined to elaborate on the feud between the two, saying he didn’t want to jeopardize any potential prosecution, but he said the suspect — who was identified via surveillance video and witnesses as Holder — approached Hussle and others multiple times, engaging them in conversation.

At one point, Holder, 29, returned with a handgun and “purposely and repeatedly fired” at the men, injuring two of them and killing the rapper, he said.

Sheriff’s officials confirmed that a person had been arrested, but he had not yet been officially identified as shooting suspect Eric Holder, 29. The arrest occurred early Tuesday afternoon on Artesia Boulevard in Bellflower, and the suspect was taken to the sheriff’s station in Lakewood.

Los Angeles police said officers were sent to determine if the man in custody was indeed Holder. KNX Newsradio reported that the man identified himself as Holder when he was arrested.

A woman who witnessed the arrest captured some of it on cell phone video, which was posted on the news site The Blast, and a sheriff’s deputy on the scene told her the man is believed to be Holder.

Holder is accused of gunning down the 33-year-old rapper around 3:20 p.m. Sunday in front of The Marathon Clothing store the singer owned in the 3400 block of West Slauson Avenue in the Hyde Park area.

Hussle was shot in the head and body and died at a hospital, according to police and the coroner’s office. Two other men were also injured in the shooting, although one declined to be taken to a hospital.

Moore 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 — despite what he described as a recent uptick in gang violence in the area.

“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.”

After the shooting, Holder was seen getting into a passenger seat of a white, four-door 2016 Chevrolet Cruze with California license plate 7RJD742, Moore said. The car was driven by an unidentified female.

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday afternoon that the woman had surrendered to police.

Moore stressed Tuesday morning that anyone who harbors Holder or helps him elude authorities will be prosecuted.

“There should be no safe haven for this individual,” Moore said.

He added: “We join, as does all of Los Angeles, in a somber day in the aftermath of a senseless, another senseless homicide, of an individual who posed such an opportunity to step into a conversation to help this city work its way through a sickness, a challenge, a seemingly tragic love affair with gun violence.”

At a news conference Tuesday morning at LAPD headquarters, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called for the community to work together to help solve this crime and other violent crimes — and to refrain from more violence.

“We have a reason to feel hopeful, even in the moments of our most extreme pain,” Garcetti said. “And that’s by turning to each other. We saw that, and we’ve seen that, since Nipsey was taken from us. That love that is out there — and I ask everybody who is grieving for him to grieve for the families of those other victims as well whose lives were just as important and just as significant. …

“The absolute worst way to pay back Nipsey’s loss — somebody we lost at the hands of violence — is with more violence,” Garcetti said.

At a candlelight vigil for Hussle outside The Marathon Clothing store Monday night, a stampede occurred and a total of 19 people were taken to hospitals. Two people were in critical condition, two in serious condition and 15 others suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

One of the critically injured was struck by a vehicle and the second suffered a “penetrating, traumatic injury with cause unknown,” Stewart said, although Moore said someone was apparently stabbed during the melee.

Moore said Tuesday the vigil had been peaceful until someone in the crowd brandished a handgun, but apparently did not fire it. The chief said a person tried to disarm the person, leading to the stampede.

He insisted police have no evidence that any shots were fired during the melee, but said two women showed up at an area hospital and claimed to have been shot while attending the vigil. Moore said he was not dismissing their claims, but police still have not confirmed that any gunfire occurred.

Moore said most of the injuries came from the stampede out of the area, with people trampled or suffering cuts from broken glass.

On Tuesday morning, the candles that were left at Hussle’s memorial were moved to a different location by city workers.

Hussle had been scheduled on Monday to meet with Moore and Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff to discuss ways of combating gang violence. Soboroff on Tuesday morning read for reporters the email he received from Hussle in February requesting the meeting. He said the gathering will eventually be held in his honor, with members of Hussle’s family and representatives of Roc Nation, the entertainment production company founded by Jay-Z.

“The meeting will happen,” Soboroff said.

Hussle transformed himself from a South Los Angeles gang member to a rap musician, and channeled his success into efforts to help other 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.

Surveillance video from a business across the street obtained by TMZ appears to capture Sunday’s shooting. The video shows a suspect walking to the clothing store, where multiple people were standing outside. The shooting occurs quickly afterward, although it cannot be clearly seen on the video. But one person can be seen falling to the ground, and at least three people are seen running from the parking lot.

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