Police in Los Angeles said Tuesday they arrested Eric Holder, the 29-year-old suspect in the fatal shooting of Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Police in Bellflower had first detained Holder before Los Angeles Police Department detectives confirmed his identity, LAPD spokesman Officer Sal Ramirez said.
Holder was charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder on Thursday by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
Hussle’s death, on Sunday, sent shock waves across Los Angeles and the country as city officials, celebrities and fans mourned the loss of a talented musician and dedicated community organizer.
At a news conference on Tuesday, LAPD chief Michel Moore said that police believe the shooting stemmed from "a dispute between Mr. Hussle and Mr. Holder” and that “we believe they were known to each other.”
“It appears to be a personal matter between the two of them, and I’ll leave it at that," Moore said. The murder charge means prosecutors charge that Holder acted with “malice aforethought,” saying the murder was essentially premeditated.
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.
According to Moore, before the shooting Holder had allegedly approached Hussle and “engaged in conversation,” before leaving and returning with a handgun. He fired and struck Hussle, along with two other men.
Authorities said that Holder was last seen fleeing the scene of the shooting Sunday in a 2016 white Chevy Cruze driven by an unidentified woman. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) joined Moore and other public figures in asking the public to provide information that would lead to his arrest.
Hussle, 33, was killed outside his South Los Angeles store, the Marathon Clothing, on Sunday afternoon.
By Monday evening, hundreds had gathered outside the store, lining the sidewalks and parking lot with rows of flickering candles, flowers and balloons. Hussle’s music played through speakers as community members passed around a megaphone to share memories of his time in the neighborhood, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But the memorial erupted into chaos later in the night when hundreds of mourners, fearing that a gun had been fired, stampeded out of a parking lot, leaving at least a dozen injured. A musician at the vigil later told the Times that a fight had broken out and the mourners likely mistook the sound of bottles and candles shattering for gunshots.
Video from the scene shows fans screaming as police officers try to keep order.
On Twitter, Police Chief Moore said that the initial “reports of shots fired do not appear to be accurate," and reiterated that assessment at Tuesday’s conference.
While several local TV stations also reported that up to six people had been stabbed, an LAPD spokesman later said the injuries appeared to mostly be caused by the stampede. Moore clarified on Tuesday that one individual had reportedly been stabbed, but could not identify an attacker.
Once the hysteria had calmed, rows of LAPD officers in riot gear slowly moved in formation through the streets, clearing out the remaining crowd. Banks of candles were left burning in the empty parking lot strewn with shattered glass.
Police said the memorial would be more tightly regulated on Tuesday night, saying that no one will be allowed to congregate in front of it and that it would close at 10 p.m.
Hussle’s killing happened at about 3:20 p.m. Sunday, when the rapper and two other men were standing in front of his store. Police allege Holder walked up to the men and “fired numerous shots at them.” Holder then allegedly ran through a nearby alley and hopped into a waiting car, according to a statement.
CNN and TMZ each obtained surveillance videos that appear to show the moment of the shooting. CNN reported that its video showed an individual approaching Hussle and a small group of men before firing on them. Two men fall to the ground while another pair runs away. The video TMZ says depicts the shooting shows what appears to be the same sequence of events, filmed from a greater distance.
Hussle and one of the men were taken to a hospital, where the musician was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m., according to a statement posted Monday afternoon by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. The coroner determined Hussle died of gunshot wounds to the head and torso, and certified his death as a homicide.
The other person hospitalized was in “stable condition” and was “expected to pull through,” Lt. Chris Ramirez told The Washington Post on Sunday.
Hussle, whose ascent in the rap world was described by The Post’s Chris Richards as “strenuously slow but astonishingly steady,” dropped his first studio album “Victory Lap” last year, earning a nomination for best rap album at the 2019 Grammy Awards. But beyond his music, Hussle was widely admired for his dedication to improving life for residents, especially young people, in South Los Angeles.
Before his death, Hussle was actively involved in several community projects, which included rebuilding an elementary school’s basketball court and furthering science, technology, engineering and math education. Last year, he opened a co-working space and STEM center called Vector90 in South Central Los Angeles. Hussle also took part in an arts project intended to celebrate the city’s black culture.
Hussle’s death came just one day before he had plans to meet with the president of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners and the city’s chief of police to “to talk about ways he could help stop gang violence and help us help kids.”
The Los Angeles native, born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was transparent about his history as a member of the Rollin 60s, which he once described as “one of the biggest Crip gangs of our generation.”
“I just want to give back in an effective way,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2018. “I remember being young and really having the best intentions and not being met on my efforts. You’re, like, ‘I’m going to really lock into my goals and my passion and my talents’ but you see no industry support. You see no structures or infrastructure built and you get a little frustrated."