Just hours after announcing they had identified a suspect in the shooting death of rapper Nipsey Hussle, Los Angeles leaders held a news conference Tuesday morning to offer additional details on the case, as well as to discuss an uptick in gun violence in South L.A., where the hip-hop star was killed.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Hussle knew the suspect, identified Monday night as 29-year-old Eric Holder of Los Angeles.
“Mr. Holder walked up on multiple occasions and engaged in a conversation with Nipsey and the others that were there,” Moore said. “He left and then came back, and subsequently came back armed with a handgun and purposely and repeatedly fired, striking and killing Nipsey Hussle.”
Hussle was shot multiple times on Sunday afternoon outside his Marathon Clothing store in the 3400 block of West Slauson Ave. He died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso, the coroner’s office said Monday.
Two other men standing alongside the rapper were also shot. Hussle and another man were rushed to area hospitals. The third man refused medical treatment, police previously said. The rapper, real name Ermias Asghedom, died from his wounds.
After opening fire on the trio, the suspect ran through an adjacent alley to a waiting vehicle and was driven away by an unidentified female, Moore said. The vehicle is described as a white, 2016 Chevy Cruze, with four doors and California license plate 7RJD742.
Hussle’s clothing store is located in a strip mall and several of the businesses have security cameras. Moore said police were able to identify the suspect from surveillance video and witness accounts.
Hussle grew up in economically depressed South Los Angeles. While others from the community who found success left to area, the Grammy-nominated rapper stayed and invested in the community.
Moore praised Hussle for remaining committed to South L.A., and for working with the LAPD and community activists to combat gang violence in the area.
“This was a voice that was trying to help,” he said about the hip-hop star.
As he stood next to Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city officials at police headquarters in downtown L.A., Moore said the shooting did not appear to be caused by a gang dispute, although he noted the suspect has gang ties.
“We believe this to be a dispute between Mr. Hussle and Mr. Holder,” he stated.
Moore added that police were in the process of getting a warrant for Holder’s arrest, and urged the suspect to turn himself in.
“To Mr. Holder, who I am confident is watching this and is listening to these media accounts as this is spread, not only in this region and around this world, I ask him to surrender,” he said.
The police chief noted that over the past few weeks there had been an increase in gun violence in South L.A.
“While we’ve seen an overall reduction in violence [in Los Angeles]… We have seen a recent increase in shooting violence in South Los Angeles, in 77th [district], and particularly impacting African-American men,” he stated.
Moore said city officials are working with coalition leaders, clergy and local activists help stop the killing.
“Nipsey Hussle represents the enormity of the lives that we have lost,” he said.