LAPD Names Suspect In Shooting Death Of Nipsey Hussle

A photo of rapper Nipsey Hussle, 33, is seen among candles as people gather to mourn him on April 1, 2019 in South Los Angeles. The Grammy-nominated artist was gunned down in broad daylight two days ago in front of The Marathon Clothing store he founded in 2017 on the day he was scheduled to meet with Los Angeles Police Department brass to discuss ways of stopping gang violence. (David McNew/Getty Images)

At least 19 people were hurt late Monday after what authorities described as a stampede at the scene of a makeshift memorial to slain rapper and community activist Nipsey Hussle. The chaos broke out a couple hours before Los Angeles police identified Eric Holder, 29, of Los Angeles, as a person they were seeking in connection with Hussle's killing.

Hussle was fatally shot and two other men wounded on Sunday afternoon in South Los Angeles. The shooting occurred on West Slauson Avenue outside The Marathon Clothing, a business the 33-year-old Hussle opened in the Hyde Park area in 2017.

Mourners had been gathering at the scene of Hussle's shooting since word spread on Sunday. More than 24 hours later, large crowds were still gathered when something triggered many in the crowd to flee.

Los Angeles Fire Dept. officials said they took 19 people to hospitals from the scene, two with critical injuries and two others with serious injuries. According to LAFD officials, one of the critical injuries appeared to be caused when a vehicle struck a pedestrian and the other was due to a "penetrating, traumatic injury with cause unknown."

Live news coverage showed people running in a panic from the scene, leaving behind broken candles, shoes and other debris. LAPD officials said they did not believe the rush from the scene of the shooting had started because of gunfire. Fire officials reiterated that finding, saying none of the injuries appeared to be gunshots. They said the majority of injuries were consistent with "'trample injuries' sustained when the crowd rushed out."

Aerial footage captured by NBC4 shows LAPD officers attempting to restore order as people rushed from the site of a makeshift memorial.

LAPD officials earlier in the evening announced a news conference scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the Nipsey Hussle shooting investigation. Chief Michel Moore will also address a "surge in violence in the city of Los Angeles," according to a news release.

Witnesses said a young man approached Hussle and the two men before firing a number of shots and fleeing to a nearby vehicle. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner determined Hussle "died from gunshot wounds of the head and torso." The manner of death "was certified as a homicide."

Authorities said one of the two wounded men was hospitalized in stable condition. The other refused hospital treatment.

Hussle, whose real name is Ermias Asghedom, was a prominent activist and advocate for L.A.'s black communities. Tributes poured in on social media, many mentioning his passion for improving neighborhoods and helping black youth.

In a tweet Sunday, Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff said he and Chief Moore were set to meet with Hussle Monday at the rapper's request "to talk about ways he could help stop gang violence and help us help kids."

One major community project he was involved in was "Destination Crenshaw" — an "open-air museum" down Crenshaw Boulevard paying tribute to African-American achievement in L.A.

Through his investment group, the rapper also helped restore World on Wheels, a roller rink in Mid-City that represents a place of refuge for many black Southern Californians.

Chief Moore also tweeted Sunday, saying the murder was the latest incident "in a troubling surge in violence" this past week in South L.A.

"HE WAS A HUMANITARIAN"

KPCC/LAist's FrankStoltze spoke to some of the local activists who worked closely with Hussle.

"He was a humanitarian," said Skipp Townsend, a community activist and former Bloods gang member who now works to keep young people out of gangs. "A lot of people left Compton and donated money to USC but don't improve the community they came from."

Townsend said Hussle "was at a point where he could charge as much money as he wanted to write a verse on a song, but he didn't do that. He often gave his verses just to help somebody who was up-and-coming."

Alex Alonso, a gang expert who writes the streetgangs.com blog, said Hussle "was the example, the blueprint of where gang culture could go."

After observing how the rapper became a successful businessman, Alonso said, "now all these guys could say, 'Ya know, I don't have to gang bang in my hood anymore. I could invest. I could do other things.'"

Still, Alonso worries young people may be discouraged by Hussle's death.

"I'm wondering if young people are now looking at this [and] it kills their spirit ... it makes [being a community activist] look like it's dangerous."

MOURNING IN HYDE PARK

Fans of Nipsey Hussle gather at a memorial near the site where the rapper and community activist was fatally shot on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Emily Elena Dugdale/LAist)

KPCC/LAist's Emily Elena Dugdale was outside Hussle's store today talking to community members who were mourning his death.

"He was very elevating, uplifting, inspiring, black-culture driven... You know, they talk about Martin Luther King, but it's more than just Martin Luther King. And this is a prime example. Are they going to put him in a black history book? We'll see... What do we do now? Do we get out there? Do we fight? What do we do?" — Tanesha Arnold

"It's war. It's war. L.A. is at war. He was loved. He wasn't just one of them one rappers that just stuck with his circle. He stuck with everybody... He bought my son shoes, he bought everyone around here, shoes, clothes. Nobody could speak bad of him." — Ronell Thomas

"I met him right there. And before he owned all this, he owned that smoke shop here. And I met him there. Cool dude... and now he's gone... It's like Tupac died. You know, people want that get-back. But who you going to get back? Just everybody you see, and who you feel? You know what I mean. It has to stop somewhere. And hopefully it stops here, with him. But I doubt it." — Marqueece Kemper

"He used to go to a school called 59th Street, which is an elementary school, and just a few months ago he actually helped rebuild the playground." — Brittney Barber

UPDATES:

Tuesday, 6:35 a.m.: This article updated with information about a suspect in the shooting.

10:37 p.m.: This article updated with LAFD officials account of the injured.

9:50 p.m.: This article was updated with reports of chaos at the scene of the memorial.

3:45 p.m. This article was updated with cause and manner of death, and to include reaction from community members.

5:35 p.m. This article was updated with reactions from local activists who worked with Hussle.

This article was originally published at 7:35 a.m. Monday.