Four people were shot, one fatally, in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, not far from where a 25-mile funeral procession for rapper Nipsey Hussle — who was known for his activism against gun violence — was underway.
Tens of thousands had turned out to pay their respects to the slain rapper, born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, on Thursday. He was killed in broad daylight last month as he was standing outside his Marathon Clothing Store. Mourners stood lining the streets as the hearse, covered in flowers and Eritrean flags, and made their way through the neighborhoods of Watts, Inglewood, and South Los Angeles.
“In the midst of this procession, we have a multi-4 shooting,” Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore wrote on Twitter. “We must stop this senseless violence.”
Moore said that the victims were three black men and one black woman aged between 30 to 50 but didn’t confirm who had died. Moore also said that “suspects” driving a gray Hyundai had fired on the victims.
The shooting occurred after the procession had left Watts, and nothing indicates that it was linked to the memorial, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Still, the shooting was a dark cloud on a day that had otherwise been a celebration of 33-year-old Hussle’s musical talents and community work. His funeral, held at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles with a capacity of 21,000 people, featured readings and performances from hip hop legends and industry giants.
Steve Wonder, who performed “Rocket Love” and Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven,” talked about the need for stronger gun control laws.
“It is a heartbreak to again lose a member of our family. It is a heartbreak because it’s so unnecessary,” Steve Wonder said. “It is almost like the world is becoming blind.”
Other artists in attendance included Hussle’s girlfriend Lauren London, Snoop Dogg, Meek Mill, and Diddy. President Barack Obama wrote a letter commemorating Hussle, which was read aloud at the funeral.
“While most people look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only gangs, bullets, and despair, Nipsey saw potential,” Obama wrote. “He saw hope. He saw a community that even though its flaws taught him to always keep going.”
The former president said that he’d become acquainted with Hussle's music through his daughters.
Hussle was standing with a group of about three others on March 31 when a figure wearing dark clothes approached the rapper and opened fire, according to surveillance footage from the scene. Two people fled, but Hussle and one other person fell to the ground. Three of the four were shot, but Hussle was the only one who died.
Police later arrested Eric Holder, 29, who got into a dispute with Hussle at the store and then allegedly returned with a gun. After the shooting, police said Holder fled the scene and got into a car idling in nearby alleyway.
Holder has been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is being represented by Chris Darden, the former prosecutor who famously made O.J. Simpson try on a glove left behind at a murder scene.
Cover image: People touch the hearse carrying the remains of rapper recording artist and social activist Nipsey Hussle, as it arrives outside at the Angelus Funeral Home, the terminus of a 25-mile procession, on April 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.