Aspiring rapper, two mothers killed in Benedict Canyon shooting. Families ask why

Beverly Hills, CA - January 28: LAPD officers investigate on 2700 block of Ellison Drive near the corner of Arby Dr on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Beverly Hills, CA. The street is blocked off due to a police investigation. Police are investigating a shooting that occurred today in the Beverly Crest area of Los Angeles, bordering Beverly Hills, where allegedly three people were killed and four others were critically wounded. The initial dispatch was an ``assault with a deadly weapon call" in the 2700 block of Ellison Drive about 2:40 a.m., the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Division reported. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
LAPD officers investigate the scene of the Benedict Canyon shooting. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

More details are emerging about the victims of a shooting in Benedict Canyon on Saturday morning that left three women dead and four people hurt.

Those who died, all of whom had roots in the Chicago area, included two mothers and an aspiring rapper who was said by a friend to be in L.A. for a music album release.

Early Saturday morning, more than 30 shots rang out in a matter of seconds, hitting the rented Porsche sports utility vehicle where the women were sitting. They had been among people linked to a short-term rental on the block where the gunfire occurred.

The lifelong friends died seated alongside one another, police said.

The attack wasn't random but targeted at members of their group, said LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet. Detectives in the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery Homicide Division have been scouring security cameras in the neighborhood and interviewing survivors, and they've developed some strong leads on the gunman, officials said.

Iyana Hutton, 33, was trying to get into the music business before she was killed.

"Iyana had started to do well with promoting and getting her ... music heard. They went out [to L.A.] for [an] album release party," said artist Mick E. Finnz, a longtime friend of Hutton.

Earlier that night they had visited a bowling alley before returning to their rental home, he said. Finnz said he had known Hutton since fifth grade and another victim, Nenah Davis, 29, since seventh grade.

Davis, of Bolingbrook, Ill., was one of Hutton's best friends, he said. She was a mom who once worked as a nurse. The third woman, Destiny Sims, 26, of Buckeye, Ariz., a mother of three and a hairstylist, grew up in Illinois before moving west with her family.

Finnz wondered if something happened at the bowling alley to set off the deadly events that night. But Tippet said detectives had found no evidence of any altercation.

Investigators have not yet offered any theories on what led to the killings.

Tippett said it's difficult squaring such violence with these victims, none of whom had a criminal history.

Keith Hutton, the aspiring rapper's father, wrote on social media: "I would have never thought that I would be saying this to any of my children, never in my lifetime. My first born girl ... I love you so much.

“I thank god for all the moments that you and I have shared.”

His Facebook post was followed with a note saying he appreciated condolences he'd received.

Sims was born and raised in Chicago, her mother, Donna Howard, told NBC 5 in Chicago. Howard said she had no idea what led to the shooting but was shattered beyond words.

"I don't wish this pain on nobody ever," Howard wrote on Facebook.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.