LOS ANGELES – Thousands of people lined the streets of Los Angeles on Thursday to bid farewell to American rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was shot dead late last month.
However, the public memorial service followed by a procession to honor the 33-year-old popular musician was marred by a shooting that left one dead and three injured.
“We must stop this senseless violence,” Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore tweeted after the incident.
The 21,000-capacity Staples Center, where teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers play, was the venue chosen by Nipsey Hussle’s fans to bid adieu to him and remember his artistic and philanthropic legacy.
Legendary black artists including Stevie Wonder and Snoop Dogg were among those who paid tributes to the rapper at the memorial.
Former United States president Barack Obama also sent his condolences in a letter that was read at the funeral service.
“While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope,” Obama wrote in his message.
After the service, Hussle’s casket, draped in the flag of his father’s native country, Eritrea in East Africa, departed from the Staples Center, located in the heart of LA, and moved through the streets of south Los Angeles, an area known for its poverty and violence and where the artist grew up.
Proud of his humble roots, Ermias Asghedom, his real name, was not only one of the most prominent rappers of the west coast in recent years but also known for his social and philanthropic work to uplift his community.
After several years of releasing singles and mixtapes, Nipsey Hussle released his debut album “Victory Lap” in 2018, which was nominated for best rap album at the 2019 Grammy Awards.
Hussle was killed on March 31 outside his clothing store “Marathon Clothing” in Los Angeles.
Two days after the crime, the authorities arrested Eric Holder, of Los Angeles, as the suspect in the killing.
The circumstances of the murder – Holder allegedly shot Hussle and then fled to a waiting car – led the authorities to initially believe that the killing was related to gang activity (Nipsey Hussle was a member of the Crips).
However, the police now believe that the murder was due to a personal dispute and not gang violence.
Many American rappers have died a violent death throughout the history of rap music, including XXXTentacion and Jimmy Wopo, who were killed in separate shootings last year.
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