LOS ANGELES – A memorial created to honor the life and legacy of slain rapper and community activist Nipsey Hussle turned violent Monday night.
Hundreds of fans gathered outside the Grammy-nominated rapper’s South Los Angeles apparel store, The Marathon Clothing, a day after Hussle was gunned down in the same location. But as night fell, violence broke out and people were trampled as they fled.
One person was stabbed and another six people sustained injuries from unknown causes, Los Angeles Police Department public information officer Tony Im told USA TODAY. The number of injured may rise as reports come in, he added.
A USA TODAY reporter witnessed one male stabbing victim lying on the ground, along with a woman who appeared to have been stabbed.
The Los Angeles Fire Department transported 19 injured people with at least two critically injured, spokesperson Margaret Stewart told USA TODAY. At least one injury was caused by a car hitting a pedestrian.
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The LAFD said a reported shooting call came in at 8:14 PST, although police later said there was no evidence of shots fired.
Stewart says there was no evidence of gunshot wounds, and the majority of the injuries were minor and related to the crowd trampling people
Earlier, 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 PST, 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.
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“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. “Reports of shots fired at the vigil do not appear to be accurate. We do have injured in the chaos and are attempting to restore order.”
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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Hussle, the 33-year-old rapper, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, was shot multiple times outside his clothing store around 3:20 p.m. PDT Sunday and pronounced dead at the hospital.
The rapper’s autopsy was completed Monday and his death was certified a homicide.
This story is developing …
Contributing: Kristin Lam, Harrison Hill