On March 31, 2019, celebrated rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed in front of his clothing store, The Marathon, at the intersection of Crenshaw and Slauson in Los Angeles. Eric Holder was indicted by a grand jury on May 9, for the murder of Nipsey and pleaded not guilty. Although his trial has been postponed because of court shutdowns over the coronavirus, his case is worth revisiting, especially due to a recent BBC documentary on Nipsey’s murder. When recalling the events that happened that day according to witnesses, and commentary from gang members, the motives behind Nipsey’s death could be about jealousy, a violation of gang code, or elements that have yet to be fully investigated.
Nipsey, born Ermias Asghedom, and Eric Holder grew up in the same neighborhood and they were both apart of the Rollin’ 60s gang, according to ABC13. Prosecutors and witnesses say Nipsey was killed after Holder approached him with a woman who wanted to take a picture with Nipsey during his appearance outside The Marathon store. A number of fans had come to the spot to meet and take pictures with Nipsey.
During a conversation between Nipsey and Holder, Nipsey suggested that Holder was gaining a reputation for “snitching,” according to the grand jury testimony of Hussle’s friend and employee Herman Douglas, who was standing next to Nipsey at the time. Douglas hears Hussle tell Holder that rumors were circling that Holder had been talking to authorities about the Rollin’ 60s gang, and that police documents or court records prove it. “You need to address it,” Hussle says, according to Douglas. “You know, basically telling the guy you need to be careful, you know, because people got some paperwork on you,” Douglas testified, saying that Hussle was “more or less trying to look out for the dude.” Holder reportedly responded to Nipsey’s words by claiming people who were talking about him were simply “hating on me.”
Holder’s music also came up in the conversation, according to records. He was an aspiring rapper but unlike Nipsey, he didn’t have nearly as much of a global presence and following. Holder asked Nipsey or anyone around him if they had heard his new song, according to records and everyone said no. Their talk reportedly lasted for about four minutes and everyone who witnessed it said no voices were raised and nobody seemed antagonistic or angry.
However, eventually, Holder went back to the car of his woman companion and took out a 9 mm pistol, according to testimony from the woman. Then, according to another witness, Holder returned to where Nipsey was located near his store, and he opened fire after saying “You’re through.” Nipsey was shot at least 10 times and Holder kicked him in the head twice before fleeing, according to court documents. Two other people standing near Nipsey, Kerry Lathan and his nephew Shermi Villanueva were also shot but not critically injured. This caused Holder to face attempted murder charges as well. The woman with Holder reportedly drove them away from the scene, although she didn’t know for sure what Holder had allegedly done, according to her testimony.
In a BBC Documentary released this month called, “The Mysterious Murder of Nipsey Hussle”, filmmaker Ben Zand interviews several prominent figures in Nipsey’s community, including former gang members. According to DailyMail.com, one person apart of the Eight-Tray gang known as Sedrick said Nipsey should have never been outside his store without security the day he got killed.
‘It’s too risky, there’s too many dudes that aren’t gonna like you,” Sedrick said. “Nipsey for one, he should have never been at that store without security. He thought he was untouchable.”
Sedrick also insinuated that Nipsey accusing Holder of snitching led to the 33-year-old rapper’s death. “That’s the worst thing you can say. You gotta go kill that ni**a man, I’ll call you if you call me a snitch and I ain’t a snitch,” Sedrick said. “It’s the equivalent of being called a child molester, that’s the level that’s on.”
With Sedrick’s comments, both jealousy and snitching accusations could have led to Nipsey’s murder.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has also been criticized for how they handled the case and faced an internal affairs investigation. Many people questioned why they didn’t immediately take the woman who drove Holder from the scene into custody. At one point, the woman — who has remained unidentified for safety reasons — even turned herself into the police after it was reported that Nipsey was dead and her car appeared in reports. However, the woman was sent home and told by an officer “don’t worry about it” and “don’t listen to the news,” according to court documents. It wasn’t until later that authorities took her in for her testimony. She maintains her innocence of aiding the murder of Nipsey.
Holder continues to await his murder trial while in jail. There’s no word yet on when the trial will be set once courts reopen.