Los Angeles police Monday were making progress in their search for the gunman who fatally shot rapper Nipsey Hussle outside his clothing store Sunday afternoon.
Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times they believed the killer was someone in the rap star’s orbit. Detectives believe the gunman has gang ties but that the motive is likely personal in nature rather than a larger gang feud. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the case publicly.
Just before the shooting, Hussle tweeted: “Having strong enemies is a blessing.”
Hussle was shot multiple times around 3:20 p.m. by a young man who opened fire at close range before bolting to a getaway car, police said.
Paramedics took Hussle to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The shooting came a day before Hussle was scheduled to meet with LAPD Chief Michel Moore and Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff “to talk about ways he could help stop gang violence and help us help kids,” Soboroff said.
At the Watts Civic Center on Monday morning, Moore urged residents to come forward, even anonymously, with information on violent crimes. “We will conduct lawful investigations and bring them to justice.”
Moore agreed with a resident who said social media was fueling violence. “We see social media as absolutely driving violence. I’ll just say it.”
Various social media platforms allow “an attitude of disrespect and it gets settled on the street,” Moore said. He urged the 70 residents attending the weekly gang task force meeting to demand that posts on social media be respectful.
After the meeting, Moore said Hussle “tragically lost his life” in a place where he was working to improve the community.
“Throughout the years as he fostered success in his music career ... he chose, rather than to leave ... to come back and reinvest. And to reinvest and try to address the various underpinnings that fostered this environment,” Moore said, adding that the shooting was “just terrible.”
Hussle made no secret of his early life in a street gang, saying in a 2014 interview with YouTube channel Vlad TV that he had joined the Rollin’ 60s, a notorious Crips gang clique, as a teenager.
“We dealt with death, with murder,” he told The Times in 2018. “It was like living in a war zone, where people die on these blocks and everybody is a little bit immune to it. I guess they call it post-traumatic stress, when you have people that have been at war for such a long time. I think L.A. suffers from that because it’s not normal yet we embrace it like it is after a while.”
Community leaders and politicians have urged people with any information about the killing to come forward.
“Violent retaliation for this event will not be tolerated,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “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.”