You couldn't turn on the radio in Los Angeles last year without hearing Nipsey Hussle's infectious single, Last Time That I Checc'd. His debut studio album, Victory Lap, was a huge success, hitting No. 4 on the Billboard charts and scoring a Grammy nomination for best rap album of the year. On the project, the raspy-voiced MC celebrated his independent success after making mixtapes for a decade and opening several businesses in his community.
It seemed like the hometown hero was on the cusp of a wave, about to break through to bigger mainstream recognition. After all, Victory Lap snagged coveted features one of the biggest rap stars of the 90's, Puff Daddy, plus one of today's most celebrated hip-hop artists, Kendrick Lamar. Born and raised in Crenshaw, a former Crips gang member who worked to prevent gang violence, the sky was the limit for Ermias Asghedom, aka Nipsey Hussle.
But sadly, Nipsey was shot and killed in his own Hyde Park neighborhood, in front of his own store, Marathon Clothing, which he created to make a positive impact in his community. He was 33 years old. The death occurred one day before Nipsey was scheduled to meet with law enforcement officials to discuss ways to prevent gang violence.
According to the LAPD, the murder took place on the 3400 block of West Slauson Blvd at around 3:20pm on March 31. "The suspect walked up to the men and fired numerous shots at them," read the police statement. "The victims were struck and fell to the ground. The suspect ran southbound through an adjacent alley to a waiting vehicle... Two victims were transported to local hospitals and one refused medical treatment at the scene. One victim, Ermias Asghedom, known as Nipsey Hussle, died as a result of the gunshot wounds he sustained."
The LAPD identified the shooting suspect as 29-year-old Eric Holder from Los Angeles, and asked the public's help to bring him to justice. Today, law enforcement officials confirmed Holder is in custody. "Thank you to both our community for the heightened awareness/vigilance, and our partners at @LASDHQ," tweeted the police, with an image of the words 'In custody' over Holder's face.
On Tuesday morning, LA police chief Michel Moore told reporters that the shooting appears to be the product of a personal dispute between Hussle and Holder. He declined to elaborate on the feud, but said their beef does not appear to be gang-related. Also, Moore confirmed that Holder has been identified by surveillance videos and several witnesses.
Following the announcement of Nipsey's death, fans paid their condolences on social media. Several famous figures mourned the late musician, including Rihanna, J. Cole, John Legend, Pharrell Williams, Mayor Eric Carcetti and writer/actress Issa Rae. "Watching Nipsey inspired me to invest and own in our communities," tweeted Rae. "He was a solid man who loved his woman, his family and his community. This hurts."
“In our culture, there’s a narrative that says, ‘Follow the athletes, follow the entertainers,'” Nipsey Hussle said, after opening Vector 90, a co-working space, cultural hub and incubator in the Crenshaw district. "And that’s cool but there should be something that says, ‘Follow Elon Musk, follow [Mark] Zuckerberg.’ I think that with me being influential as an artist and young and coming from the inner city, it makes sense for me to be one of the people that’s waving that flag."