Police: Robbery looks unlikely as motive in rapper killing

U.S. & World
Bashar Barakah Jackson, Pop Smoke

In this undated photo provided by Republic Records is Pop Smoke. The up-and-coming rapper known as Pop Smoke, whose legal name is Bashar Barakah Jackson, was fatally shot during a break-in early Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, at a Hollywood Hills home, his label said. “We are devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke,” Republic Records said in a statement. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together.” (Republic Records via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The home-invasion death of rising rapper Pop Smoke in Los Angeles does not appear to be part of a robbery, police said Thursday, as detectives sought to identify the shooter and the music community mourned.

Investigators were not ruling out a robbery, but they were looking at other possible motives as well, said Capt. Jonathan Tippet, head of the Robber-Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The 20-year-old Brooklyn, New York, rapper whose legal name is Bashar Barakah Jackson was killed Wednesday at a home in the Hollywood Hills. A 911 call from a friend of someone in the house reported armed intruders inside the home, police said.

An autopsy was planned after Pop Smoke was declared dead at a hospital. Police have not announced any arrests or named any suspects.

Hundreds of people gathered in the streets of Brooklyn on Wednesday night, playing the rapper’s music and dancing at an impromptu vigil. In Manhattan, rapper Roddy Ricch performed Pop Smoke’s hit “Welcome to the Party” at a concert.

Chance the Rapper, 50 Cent, Meek Mill and Nicki Minaj, who collaborated with Pop Smoke, were among those paying tribute on social media.

“Young tycoon gone2soon had a blast wit ya,” Snoop Dogg posted, along with a video of himself and Pop Smoke on stage together.

“Sit by some good energy tonight in these unwelcoming times,” Drake said on Instagram. “Be with some good people and express how grateful you are for life. RIP Pop.”

Rapper Rich the Kid wrote on Instagram that “I don’t wanna believe it we literally spoke less than 24 hours ago I’m lost for word tryna type this message love you bro.”

Pop Smoke arrived on the rap scene in 2018 and broke out last spring with “Welcome to the Party” a gangsta anthem with boasts about shootings, killings and drugs that became a huge sensation, and prompted Minaj to drop a verse on a remix.

Earlier this month, he released the album “Meet the Woo 2,” which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. It was the follow up to his first official release,” Meet the Woo,” last July. He also had the popular hit “Gatti” with Travis Scott and Jackboys and “Dior.”

Pop Smoke had been scheduled to start a U.S. tour in Washington on March 2.

The home where the shooting occurred is owned by Edwin Arroyave and his wife Teddi Mellencamp, daughter of Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer John Mellencamp and a star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Teddi Mellencamp said on Instagram that the couple had been notified of the shooting at their rental property but knew no more than what they had seen in media reports.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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