Security video shows at least 4 fleeing after rapper Pop Smoke fatally shot, sources say

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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Los Angeles police say at least four people are connected to Wednesday’s shooting death of rapper Pop Smoke at a Hollywood Hills home, law enforcement sources told The Times.

Detectives have reviewed security camera video, which the sources said also may have captured images of the getaway car. In addition to home cameras, there are nearby locations that have license plate reader technology that also could aid in the investigation, the sources added.

While initial reports described the incident that led to the rapper’s shooting as a home invasion robbery, Los Angeles Police Department officials said they are still trying to sort out what happened.

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“I am not comfortable calling it a robbery right now,” Robbery Homicide Division Capt. Jonathan Tippet said. “There is a lot of information available. We have some work to do.

“We are not ruling out a robbery, but that doesn’t appear based on the evidence to be the motive,” Tippet said.

The captain said items may have been taken from the home, but security footage doesn’t show the suspects ransacking the house in a way typically seen in fast-moving home invasion robberies. Video reviewed by investigators shows no cash, jewels or other valuables being carried away from the home by the assailants.

Law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said it appears Pop Smoke was targeted in the planned attack but that whether that meant his assailants intended to kill him from the onset remains to be determined. Tippet said detectives are looking for evidence in the neighborhood as well as scanning the internet for clues to a motive.

Sources said they are aware the rapper may have inadvertently posted an image showing the address of the home where he was staying to social media, giving away his location to those who may have wished him ill.

Because Pop Smoke was considered by law enforcement to be affiliated with the Crips street gang, detectives are investigating whether the slaying may have been gang-related, officials said.

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Officers were sent to the home about 5 a.m. after someone calling from the East Coast reported that several people, at least one of whom wore a black mask and was armed with a handgun, had entered their friend’s home in Los Angeles, LAPD Capt. Steve Lurie said.

When officers arrived at the $2.5-million mansion in the 2000 block of Hercules Drive, they found the 20-year-old rapper, whose legal name is Bashar Barakah Jackson, with gunshot wounds.

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He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Officers detained several people inside the house, but they were later released. At least four suspects fled the scene, authorities said.

Pop Smoke, according to sources, had partied at the Hercules Drive home with others in the evening before the shooting. It is unclear whether there is any connection between that gathering and the shooting.

The Hollywood Hills home is owned by Teddi Mellencamp of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and her husband, Edwin Arroyave, according to property records. Mellencamp wrote on Instagram that she was informed about the shooting early Wednesday by a third-party leasing and management company that oversees the rental property.

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