The man accused of fatally shooting Migos rapper Takeoff outside a Texas bowling alley last year appeared in court Thursday as his lawyer maintained his innocence in the slow-moving murder case.
Patrick Xavier Clark, 34, has been on house arrest with a GPS monitor since January and claims he didn’t fire the bullets that struck Takeoff in the head and torso outside 810 Billiards & Bowling in downtown Houston on November 1, 2022, his defense lawyer says.
More from Rolling Stone
When Houston Police first arrested Clark last December, they said investigators determined he was the shooter by reconstructing the deadly incident with video and ballistics evidence.
But his lawyer says she reviewed the reconstruction and doesn’t believe it would hold up at trial. “He maintains his innocence. We do believe that he has a valid self-defense claim. I don’t think they can say with any degree of certainty that it was Patrick who actually fired the shot that took Takeoff’s life,” his attorney Letitia Quinones-Hollins tells Rolling Stone.
“There was someone else who started the shooting, it was not Patrick Clark. He was in the same position that Takeoff was in, he was trying to get out of there alive as well. He didn’t have anything to do with the argument that occurred. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when people started firing weapons.” She says a trial in the case probably won’t come until the second half of next year, at the earliest. Clark’s next court date is set for January 23, 2024.
At a press conference last December, Houston Police said more than 30 people were gathered outside a private event at the bowling alley when bullets started flying. “There was a lucrative dice game that went on at the event. There was an argument that happened afterwards, outside the bowling alley, which led to the shooting,” Sgt. Michael Burrow said at the briefing.
“I can tell you that Takeoff was not involved in playing in the dice game, and he was not involved in the argument that happened outside. He was not armed. He was an innocent bystander,” Burrow said.
Takeoff, born Kirsnick Khari Ball, died on the floor outside the venue from “penetrating gunshot wounds of head and torso into arm,” the Houston Medical Examiner ruled, classifying the incident as a homicide.
He had attended the party with fellow Migos member Quavo, his uncle, who was not wounded. Two other victims were shot and taken to a hospital, Houston Police said at the time.
News of the tragedy rocked the music world, sending Quavo and Offset, the third member of the Grammy-nominated Atlanta-based trio, into seclusion. Offset later took the stage at a packed funeral service at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on November 11, 2022, and said his heart was shattered.
“I don’t wanna question you, God, but I don’t get you sometimes,” he said. With the chrome casket in front of him, he said, “Take… I love you… I’m sorry.”
According to prosecutors, Clark represented a flight risk when he petitioned the court for house arrest after he was taken into custody. They wrote in a December 2, 2022, filing that he successfully applied for an “expedited passport” shortly after the murder and was “found in possession of a large amount of cash” and “an imminent travel itinerary to Mexico.”
Still, the court lowered Clark’s bail from $2 million to $1 million and agreed to release him to house arrest at his parents’ home with a GPS monitor. His defense claims he was planning to travel to Mexico on vacation but had canceled the trip before his arrest. He was indicted by a grand jury in May.
Migos, founded in 2008, first captured mainstream success with their 2013 hit single “Versace.” They went on to score four Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including 2017’s “Motorsport,” which included features from high-powered female rappers Nicki Minaj and Offset’s wife Cardi B and was the lead single for the group’s third studio album, Culture II. Their second studio album, Culture, was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards.
Best of Rolling Stone