Rapper may have had dispute with man suspected in his death
Los Angeles police are checking reports that the fatal shooting of rapper Dolla at the Beverly Center had its roots in a dispute the rapper had with an events promoter who on Tuesday was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because the investigation was ongoing, said detectives plan to travel to Atlanta, where both the victim and suspect live, seeking clues.
Roderick Anthony Burton II, a.k.a. Dolla, was killed in a confrontation Monday afternoon between two groups in the valet parking area of the Beverly Center. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Police Department announced the arrest of 23-year-old Aubrey Louis Berry. Authorities allege that Berry fled the scene of the shooting in a silver Mercedes-Benz SUV and was later arrested in the waiting area of Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 1.
The sources told The Times that detectives don’t have a motive for the shooting but said Burton and Berry were involved in an altercation last week at an Atlanta strip club frequented by the hip-hop community.
The sources would not say where the fight took place. But an employee of Platinum 21 Adult Entertainment interviewed by The Times said he recalled that Dolla was involved in a fight at the club May 13 with a man known at the club as “A.B,” which matches Berry’s initials.
During the brawl, which began inside and spilled into the parking lot, participants threatened each other and shouted out gang slogans, according to the employee, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Burton flew from Atlanta to Los Angeles to put the finishing touches on his first album with his producer, Julian Bunetta.
On the way to Bunetta’s studio from LAX, the rapper stopped at the Beverly Center to shop for an hour.
Police and witnesses say two groups of people began arguing before Berry, a resident of Snellville, Ga., allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Burton several times as he stood near another rapper, D.J. Shabbazz. Burton was pronounced dead a short time later at nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Authorities recovered several shell casings from the scene.
“Right now, we don’t know what the motive was for the person who shot Roderick ‘Dolla’ Burton,” said Bunetta’s spokeswoman, Laura Wright. “This is a tragedy.”
Burton’s family declined to comment on the killing through their spokeswoman, Remy Revoyoso, who said she was Burton’s aunt.
The family “would be very appreciative if we could mourn this loss in private,” Revoyoso wrote in an e-mail.
The hip-hop community mourned Dolla’s passing Tuesday. In a Twitter message, music-clothing mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, for whom Burton had worked as a model, wrote “RIP Dolla! God Bless his Family. He was a good kid! You will be missed player. Don’t take life for granted people!”
Little is known about Berry. He is an events promoter, but it was unclear whether he dealt with rap acts or worked with Burton.
Police say Berry fled the scene in a rented Mercedes. But officers quickly got the license plate from eyewitnesses and were able to put out a regional alert. Authorities tracked Berry to the waiting area at Terminal 1 at LAX, said airport police Sgt. Bill Holcomb.
When confronted by police, Berry “got up with his hands in the air and said, ‘I have a gun in my waistband, don’t shoot me,’ ” Holcomb said.
Times staff writer Sam Quinones contributed to this report.