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Snoop Lion donates to girl's funeral after 'heartbreaking' killing

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Long Beach rapper-turned-reggae artist Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg) is the latest high-profile artist to contribute money toward the funeral of a 6-year-old girl shot in Moreno Valley last weekend, his representatives told The Times.

Snoop has donated an undisclosed amount of money to Tiana Ricks' family, his representatives confirmed. In a statement, Snoop called the girl's death "heartbreaking."

"Little 6-year-old girls are not supposed to die from a gunshot. But it keeps happening," Snoop said. "From the mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown, to gang violence in the streets and murders in our own backyards, too many tears are being shed, too many young lives are being cut short. We need to come together to change this."

"Beautiful Tiana loved to play the piano — she had a whole life ahead of her which she should have been filled with love and music," Snoop added.

Tiana and her father, Tyrell Ricks Jr., 26, were shot Sunday as they stood in a driveway of a Moreno Valley home, witnesses told KTLA-TV. Two men walked up to the father and daughter, confronted them and opened fire.  

Tiana died later at a hospital, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing. Riverside County Sheriff's Sgt. Lisa McConnell said Tuesday  the fatal shooting could "possibly be gang-related," but said Tiana's father was not believed to be involved in gang activity.

Compton rapper The Game pledged $10,000 for Tiana's funeral this week, posting a picture of the smiling girl on his Instagram account and saying the "very sad story hit me in a place nothing ever has."

The Game wrote he read Tiana's story while in Australia and "immediately" tracked down her mother. When he learned the family was trying to raise money to cover the funeral, the rapper wrote, he called his accountant.

"To lose a child is to lose your soul," he told The Times in a statement. "My prayers are with her family."

The Game indicated the donation to Tiana's family was part of the Robin Hood Project, a pledge the rapper made Monday — also posted to Instagram and Twitter — that he would give away $1 million before Christmas, apparently inspired by an encounter with a boy he met in Australia. He said the money would go "to people I come in contact with around the world."

Snoop also pointed to a larger project — his anti-violence campaign that shares the name of a song he released this year.

"We've lost too many kids to senseless gun violence — and these circumstances inspired the launch of my anti-violence campaign in 2013 to get communities to embrace #NoGunsAllowed," he said in his statement. "Tiana's loss reminds us of the urgent work we still have left to do. Love and peace with her family."

[For the Record, 12:10 p.m., PDT, Sept. 12: A previous version of the caption stated incorrectly that Snoop Lion had donated $10,000; the sum was undisclosed.]

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+
kate.mather@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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