Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore says Sunday’s fatal shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle was the outcome of a personal dispute with suspect Eric Holder, and not part of the wave of gang violence that swept through the city’s South Central region in March – even though the LAPD believes Holder to be a member of a gang.
During a Tuesday press conference, 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 the 33-year-old Hussle, whose real 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, urging himself to turn himself in: “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 added that if Holder 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, -door Chevy Cruze and whom he also described as a suspect.
He also warned, “Anyone that would aid and abet them from being found, we will pursue and vigorously prosecute. There should be no safe haven.”
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Moore also addressed the outbreak of violence at Monday’s vigil at Hussle’s boutique, The Marathon Clothing, where one 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” sustained in the stampede that ensued when an individual brandished a handgun and another individual attempted to disarm him.
He reiterated the police and fire department’s conclusion that there was no evidence of shots being fired despite a 911 call to that effect at 8:14 p.m. PDT.
He said that police do not yet 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 at the scene witnessed one male stabbing victim lying on the ground, along with a woman who appeared to have been stabbed.
Chaos at the scene of vigil
On Monday night, ABC7 reporter Veronica Miracle tweeted that “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 began trying to “restore order” and asked that those gathered to leave the area.
But as of 9:30 PDT, tension on the ground remained high between those who remained and police who were forcing people out of the area. Some gathered threw bottles at the police in anger and frustration.
“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.
A following tweet added: “We understand the community is mourning and we feel your loss. We are asking for everyone to follow the officers directions and disperse from the immediate area.”
LAPD public information office Josh Rubenstein estimated 300 to 400 people had gathered in front of Hussle’s store to mourn the rapper earlier in the evening.
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Contributing: Kristin Lam, Harrison Hill