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Police hunting gunman after women shot at Nipsey Hussle vigil

Fans of rapper Nipsey Hussle attended a vigil hours after he was killed (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Fans of rapper Nipsey Hussle attended a vigil hours after he was killed (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Police are searching for a gunman after two women were shot during a vigil for Nipsey Hussle hours after the rapper was killed, according to court papers seen by the Associated Press.

Hundreds of people had gathered to mourn the loss of Hussle at the South Los Angeles shopping centre on March 31, the same day he was shot dead and two others injured as they stood outside Hussle’s clothing store, The Marathon.

The two women injured at the vigil told police at a hospital last week that they had been struck with gunfire as the crowd fled, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on April 2.

Investigators are seeking to identify the shooter and the intended victim, the document said.

At a news conference earlier on the day the warrant was approved, Police Chief Michel Moore acknowledged that two women had reported they were shot, but said a police commander at the scene did not hear gunfire.

Nipsey Hussle
Nipsey Hussle was shot dead (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

One of the women, however, said she heard a quick succession of shots and ran from it along with the rest of the crowd, according to the affidavit. She fell to the ground in the stampede, got up and got to a car, where she discovered she had been shot in the lower back. A friend drove her to the hospital.

The other woman, who was with the first victim, told investigators she was knocked down and trampled in the stampede, and when she stood she felt a strange sensation in her elbow. A passerby told her she had been shot, according to the affidavit. She drove herself from the scene, and a friend drove her to the hospital.

Nineteen people were injured at the vigil, most of them hurt during the stampede.

Businesses at the shopping centre had declined to give police surveillance video on the night of the vigil, but using the warrant, police took video recorders from The Marathon, a mobile phone store and a barbershop.

Officer Scott Swanson, who wrote the document, said he is a longtime investigator in the gang unit. He said the shopping centre, including The Marathon store, is a popular gang gathering spot. The stores have often withheld or deleted surveillance video when police asked for it in previous investigations, Mr Swanson wrote.

Investigators believe Hussle’s death involved a personal dispute with the alleged gunman Eric R Holder Jr and not any gang activity or rivalry, Mr Moore has said.

Holder and Hussle had several interactions on March 31 before Holder returned with a handgun and shot the 33-year-old rapper and two other men, police said.

Holder has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges.

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