Five people, including three adult men and two minors, were arrested early Thursday in connection with the February killing of Pop Smoke, a rising New York rapper, the Los Angeles Police Department announced. No additional information about the arrests or potential charges was provided by the department, which has been investigating the case for months.
Pop Smoke, born Bashar Jackson, was shot twice and killed around 4 a.m. on Feb. 19 in a Hollywood Hills home where he was staying. Investigators have said that four men in hoodies broke in and took some items during the crime, but noted that some standard signs of a robbery were absent.
The rapper, 20, had been out that night and returned late to his Spanish-style, four-bedroom rented home, which was also occupied by others, but the police said that he had been alone in one area of the house when the intruders encountered him. Pop Smoke was the only person shot at, the police said. Someone else staying at the home then contacted a friend on the East Coast, who called 911.
Noting the lack of ransacking, the authorities said in February that they were looking into whether Pop Smoke had been the victim of a random robbery or if he was targeted, having recently posted pictures to social media that showed large stacks of cash and accidentally revealed his address. Police said they had a large amount of video footage to pore over because the upscale neighborhood was covered in cameras.
The L.A.P.D. said that it had been informed that Pop Smoke, who was raised in Canarsie, Brooklyn, had gang associations, but added that it had no indication early on that the rapper was being pursued by rivals from the East Coast. At the time of his death, Pop Smoke was facing federal charges of transporting a stolen Rolls-Royce across state lines.
The child of Panamanian and Jamaican parents, the deep-voiced musician was the breakout star of a growing Brooklyn drill rap scene, landing hits like “Welcome to the Party” and “Dior,” and earning the support of mainstream artists like 50 Cent and Nicki Minaj. Less than two weeks before his death, Pop Smoke released his second mixtape, “Meet the Woo 2,” which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard chart.
His posthumous debut album, “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon,” was released on July 3, and is expected to top the chart next week with more than 200,000 in sales.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.