The Los Angeles Country District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that Eric Holder, the 29-year-old suspect in the fatal shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle, has been charged with murdering the 33-year-old rapper and wounding two others this past weekend.
Holder faces charges of one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of firearm possession by a felon. At a news conference held after Holder’s arrest Tuesday, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said police believe the shooting occurred because of “a dispute between Mr. Hussle and Mr. Holder" and that the men “were known to each other.” (Shortly before the shooting, Hussle tweeted about having “strong enemies.”)
If convicted on these charges, Holder could face life in prison.
According to KNX1070 reporter Claudia Peschiutta, Holder pleaded not guilty through his lawyer Chris Darden on Thursday and is being held in lieu of $5 million bail. Darden, who is famous for being one of the prosecutors on the OJ Simpson case before he was a defense lawyer, did not respond to an immediate request for comment.
Holder allegedly approached Hussle outside the latter’s Marathon Clothing store in South Los Angeles and engaged in a conversation before the encounter turned violent, according to Moore, who said Holder left the conversation with Hussle before returning with a gun. Hussle and two other men were shot. Authorities said Holder was then seen fleeing the scene in a white Chevy Cruze driven by a woman who has not been charged.
Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was pronounced dead Sunday afternoon within an hour of police responding. The Los Angeles County coroner determined that he died of gunshot wounds to the head and torso.
Washington Post music critic Chris Richards described Hussle’s career growth as “strenuously slow but astonishingly steady, measured by more than a decade of independent releases and guest verses.” Hussle released his debut album “Victory Lap” last year, and it earned a Grammy nomination for best rap album. Outside of music, Hussle was known for working to better his community through educational programs and arts projects.
Artists such as Rihanna, Drake and Cardi B publicly mourned their peer soon after the news of his death broke, and the space outside Hussle’s store filled with candles and flowers by Monday. But that evening, according to the Los Angeles Times, hundreds of mourners fled the memorial in a stampede after false reports of shots fired in that area. Several were injured in the process.