Lead Story West Edition

Rapper’s death is part of recent spike in shootings

LOS ANGELES — The death of rapper Nipsey Hussle came during a week that saw a spike in shootings that prompted three City Council members to introduce a motion at the April 2 City Council meeting asking the police department and the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development to report on the recent surge and the department’s strategy on responding to the increase.

Hussle was shot in the head and upper body March 31 outside a clothing store he owns in the 3400 block of West Slauson Avenue in the Hyde Park area. Two other men also were injured in the shooting.

Although homicides are down in the city over the first three months of the year compared to 2018, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said Hustle’s death came during a week where 26 people were shot in the city and 10 were killed.

At a news conference at LAPD headquarters April 2, Moore said the surge in violence began several weeks ago and was particularly impacting African-American men.

“Nipsey Hussle represents the enormity of the lives that we have lost,” said Moore, who had been scheduled to meet with Hussle and others on April 1 to discuss ways to reduce gang violence.

Moore recalled getting a message March 31 that three people had been shot in South Los Angeles, and then realizing Hussle was among the victims.

“And then I saw the name Nipsey Hussle, and I looked at that again, and I looked at it again, and it was like, I could not believe it,” Moore said. “It just drove the added violence even that much more severe. So I am devastated with that because this is a voice that was trying to help and was investing in his community.”

Crime dropped in Los Angeles in every major category in the city in 2018, according to the LAPD. Homicides were down 8.2 percent, violent crime was down 4.5 percent and property crime was down 1.8 percent. Homicides totaled 259, down from 282 in 2017.

“There has been a disturbing uptick in gang-related shootings in South L.A. and the Harbor Area. It is imperative that the city look into what can be done to address this surge, especially before the summer begins, which is traditionally the time of year that experiences the highest incidence of shootings and gang-related activity,” the City Council motion says.

The motion was introduced by Joe Buscaino, who represents the Harbor Area, Monica Rodriguez, chair of the Public Safety Committee, and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents parts of South Los Angeles, including Hyde Park.