Dozens of fans flocked to the Hyde Park area of Los Angeles Thursday to celebrate what would have been the 34th birthday of slain rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Hussle was shot to death on March 31 in front of The Marathon Clothing store, which Hussle owned, in the 3400 block of West Slauson Avenue.
The store itself was blocked off by a fence, and there was no official event Thursday, but that didn’t stop fans from showing up to blast his music and take photos in front of two murals depicting Hussle. A small group led by community activist Najee Ali released a number of white and blue balloons.
The Los Angeles Police Department kept a visible presence in the area, as did members of the Nation of Islam who were providing security, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A grand jury indictment from May 9 charges Eric Ronald Holder Jr. with one count each of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon and two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a firearm involving two other men who were wounded in the attack, along with the allegations that he personally and intentionally discharged a firearm and caused great bodily injury and death.
Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told the grand jury that Holder used two guns to fire multiple shots shortly after a conversation that included allegations of “snitching.”
At a court hearing May 10, a judge appointed the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office to represent Holder following the withdrawal of Chris Darden — a former prosecutor best known for his work in the O.J. Simpson murder trial — as his attorney.
Holder — a 29-year-old aspiring rapper — was arrested by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on April 2 in the 9000 block of Artesia Boulevard in Bellflower after a witness called authorities to report seeing a person believed to be Holder.
He remains jailed in lieu of $6.53 million bail while awaiting his next court appearance Aug. 29 and could face a maximum of life in prison if convicted as charged.
Hussle transformed himself from a South Los Angeles gang member to a rap musician and channeled his success into efforts to help others stay out of gangs. He bought shoes for students, re-paved basketball courts, provided jobs and shelter for the homeless and redeveloped the strip mall that housed his clothing shop, where he was fatally wounded.
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