Police have reportedly determined Pop Smoke's killing to be a gang-related homicide. The up-and-coming “Dior” rapper was fatally shot by masked intruders at a house he was renting in the Hollywood Hills early Wednesday morning.
The Los Angeles Times cites law enforcement sources who say the slaying is considered to be gang-related due to Pop Smoke's affiliation with a street gang. Last month, the Brooklyn rapper was indicted on a count of transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines, to which he pleaded not guilty. Pop Smoke allegedly stole a 2019 Rolls-Royce valued around $375,000 that he used in a music video shoot in California and brought back to New York. Authorities found the car outside his mother's Brooklyn home with a different license plate. During a January hearing, a federal prosecutor said it was believed the 20-year-old was a member of a gang affiliated with the Crips, according to a court transcript.
ABC News reports Pop Smoke was known to be connected to gang members and police are looking into whether the killing was related to his case in New York.
A spokesman for the LAPD told Yahoo Entertainment that as of Wednesday afternoon, they are not commenting on whether the killing is considered a gang-related homicide.
In an interview with New York's Power 105.1 radio station earlier this month, Pop Smoke denied that he stole the car, calling the story “foolishness.”
It's been speculated before that Pop Smoke had gang ties. In October, he was one of five New York rappers pulled by the NYPD from the popular hip-hop festival Rolling Loud. Three days before the event in Queens, festival organizers received a letter from NYPD Assistant Chief Martin Morales citing each performer as "public safety concerns."
"The above listed performers have been associated with recent acts of violence citywide," Morales wrote in the letter, per Rolling Stone. "The New York City Police Department believes if these individuals are allowed to perform, there will be a higher risk of violence."
The LAPD confirmed to Yahoo officers responded to an incident in the 2000 block of Hercules Drive at 4:29 a.m. Wednesday. Unknown suspects entered the property and masked gunmen shot the victim before fleeing the scene; the suspects have not been found. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Sources tell the Los Angeles Times that investigators are aware Pop Smoke may have inadvertently posted the address of his rental home on social media. In recent years, there have reportedly been several home invasions in L.A. targeting properties being rented out by musicians. The house the rapper was renting belonged to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Teddi Mellencamp and her husband.
In a statement on Instagram, the Bravo star and daughter of John Mellencamp sent extended "condolences to the family and loved ones affected by this tragic loss of life."
Learn more about Pop Smoke’s death in the video below:
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