Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said the fatal shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle on Sunday was the outcome of a personal dispute with suspect Eric Holder, not part of a wave of gang violence that swept through the city’s South Central region in March – even though the LAPD suspects Holder is a member of a gang.
During a news conference Tuesday, Moore did not elaborate on how the two men knew each other or what caused the confrontation.
Citing witness statements and surveillance video, Moore said, “Mr. Holder walked up on multiple occasions, engaged in (conversation) with Nipsey, left and came back. He subsequently came back … armed with a handgun, striking and killing Nipsey Hussle.”
An autopsy completed Monday revealed that Hussle, 33, whose given name was Ermias Asghedom, died from gunshots to the head and torso. His death was then certified as a homicide.
Moore addressed the suspect directly: “If Eric Holder is watching and listening, I ask him to surrender and to defend himself as he feels appropriate … but to stop this from continuing.”
Moore said that if Holder, 29, did not surrender peacefully, the LAPD would pursue him, as well as the woman who allegedly drove him away from the scene in a white, four-door Chevy Cruze and whom Moore also described as a suspect.
Moore warned: “Anyone that would aid and abet them from being found, we will pursue and vigorously prosecute. There should be no safe haven.”
Nipsey Hussle murder investigation: Everything we know
Moore addressed the outbreak of violence at Monday’s vigil at Hussle’s boutique, The Marathon Clothing, where at least one person was stabbed.
Of the 19 people transported from the scene by first responders, he said, the majority of cases were “cuts and sprains” from a stampede that ensued when a man brandished a handgun and another person attempted to disarm him.
Moore reiterated the police and fire departments’ conclusion that there was no evidence of shots fired despite a 911 call to that effect at 8:14 p.m. PDT.
He said police do not have information on the assailant in the stabbing incident at the vigil.
Moore implored people to honor Hussle and not to “let this sacred ground become the site of any more violence.”
A USA TODAY reporter witnessed one male stabbing victim lying on the ground, along with a woman who appeared to have been stabbed. The L.A. Fire Department told The Associated Press that it was unclear whether the “penetrating injury” was the result of an intentional stabbing or broken glass.
Chaos at the scene of vigil
Monday night, ABC7 reporter Veronica Miracle tweeted, “A HUGE stampede of people rushed out of the … memorial area. People thought they heard something break or a loud noise and started running.”
Police quickly tried to “restore order” and asked those gathered to leave the area.
As of 9:30 p.m. PDT, tension on the ground remained high between those who remained and police getting people out of the area. Some threw bottles at the police.
“Our men and women are on scene and making every effort to protect everyone in attendance at the Nipsey Hussle vigil,” the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted Monday night.