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California

YG Shooting: Rapper’s bulletproof Escalade is tied to wild gun battle, police pursuit, and Compton killing

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Bullet holes riddle the windshield of a Sheriff’s Department cruiser after a wild chase in Compton on July 3.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

It started with what seemed like a typical police pursuit.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies tried to stop an SUV for reckless driving near North Acacia Avenue and West Elm Street in Compton in early July, and the vehicle sped away.

Then a person in the SUV opened fire on the deputies with an assault rifle, prompting multiple exchanges of gunfire and turning the chase into a rolling gun battle, authorities said.

Caught in the crossfire was Rickie Cornell Starks, who died after he was shot multiple times near Spruce Street and Aranbe Avenue in Compton. Investigators think the 65-year-old was a bystander and not involved in the gunfight.

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The death took a twist when the Sheriff’s Department announced the SUV — an armored Cadillac Escalade — was owned by rapper YG.

Since then, YG has taken to social media to deny any role in the July 3 shooting. But on Thursday, deputies searched his Hollywood Hills home.

Here is what we know about the case:

How did the chase end?

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After Starks was shot, deputies pursued the SUV into Inglewood, where someone in the vehicle fired a weapon at a helicopter tracking the chase, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Bullets also struck a patrol car, grazing a deputy’s hand and shoulder.

Investigators have said that at least 40 rounds were exchanged over the 12-plus-mile route, with at least 16 coming from the suspect’s assault rifle.

The pursuit came to an end when the SUV stopped outside an apartment complex at North Ash Avenue and West Queen Street, where at least four people jumped from the vehicle and ran away, according to authorities.

Deputies said they arrested one of the suspects, James Earl Harris, 28, of Lakewood. Harris was not charged and was released July 9 because of insufficient evidence.

Investigators also seized the Escalade, which was outfitted with bulletproof windows, but found no weapon inside, the Sheriff’s Department said.

What has YG said?

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On July 5, he wrote on social media: “I was nowhere near the scene of this incident, I was in Hollywood recording in the studio all day. I was there until after midnight on the 4th of July and didn’t learn of these events until after they happened!”

What do we know about Starks?

He lived in Compton with his brother, near the spot where he died, according to sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred. Investigators think he was biking to a nearby market when he was shot.

Starks was found lying in the street near his bicycle and pronounced dead at the scene, according to coroner’s records.

What happened Thursday?

Homicide detectives from the Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at the property in the 1600 block of Blue Jay Way, said Deputy Grace Medrano, a spokeswoman for the department.

They arrested one man, Tyquan Williams, 29, on an unspecified weapons charge, she said. Several other people were detained and released.

Keenon Jackson, otherwise known as YG, lives at the home but was not there when the warrant was served, according to investigators.


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