Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed Sunday, in broad daylight outside his store, the Marathon Clothing, in South Los Angeles. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 33 years old.
Based on initial information, the shooter is believed to be associated with a gang, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation. Hussle was shot by a young man who opened fire at close range and then ran to a getaway car that was waiting.
The shooting was just a day before he was scheduled to meet with the LAPD Chief and Police Commissioner to talk about ways he could help stop gang violence.
He grew up in South L.A. in the ’90s, and it was no secret that he was part of a street gang during his teenage years. As an adult, though, Nipsey Hussle was definitely described as a pillar in his South L.A. community.
After his career took off, he didn’t forget where he came from and put most of the money he made back into the neighborhood. Hussle could have opened his businesses in Beverly Hills or anywhere else, but he chose Hyde Park. He spent his time trying to fight gentrification and stop gang violence. He was working toward community revitalization.
He offered jobs to residents who were struggling or homeless. He once gave a pair of shoes to every student at a Hyde Park elementary school and donated money to upgrade the playground and basketball court. He would even sometimes help pay for funeral arrangements when a family lost a loved one to gun violence.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore took to Twitter to note that Hussle was one of many recent victims of violence on the streets of L.A., stating that there is a troubling surge in violence. “Since last Sunday 26 victims have been shot & 10 homicides–that’s 36 families left picking up the pieces. We will work aggressively with our community to quell this senseless loss of life.” Moore wrote on Twitter.
While crime did drop across L.A. in 2018, with the number of homicides among the lowest in more than 50 years, the numbers were uneven. Crime dropped more in traditionally safer areas than in South L.A. The Hyde Park area had seen five homicides over the last six months, while the neighboring Chesterfield Square area had only seen one.
News of Hussle’s killing has flooded social media, with even several of his fellow musicians and other celebrities expressing shock and condolences. The real stories, though, are coming from those within his South L.A. community.
Resident Ruben Martinez Jr. remembered Hussle as a teenager selling incense and CDs out of the trunk of his car. “We shouldn’t be here right now,” Martinez said. “It’s a sad day in L.A.”
“He did so much for our neighborhood,” said Glenn Taylor, a Hyde Park resident whose daughter was a childhood friend of Hussle’s. “That’s why I’m here today. This has to stop.”