By Andrew Dalton
LOS ANGELES — After a nearly 48-hour manhunt, police arrested the suspect they say gunned down Nipsey Hussle in front of the popular rapper’s South Los Angeles clothing store.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies detained Eric Holder, 29, on Tuesday afternoon in the city of Bellflower, two days after the shooting and 20 miles away from the crime scene. LAPD detectives quickly arrived to verify that he was the suspect they’d sought.
The focus now shifts from the streets to the courtroom. Holder is likely to be charged with killing Hussle and to make his first appearance in front of a judge in the next two days.
Authorities announced Holder as a suspect Monday night, publicizing his face and name and publicly urging him to turn himself in. Police said a tip from a citizen led them to Holder.
Hussle and Holder knew each other, and the two had some kind of personal dispute in the hours before the rapper was killed, police Chief Michel Moore said at a news conference earlier Tuesday.
The two men had several interactions on Sunday, and Holder returned to the store with a handgun and opened fire on Hussle and two other men, who survived the shooting, police said.
The chief did not reveal how the two men were acquainted or offer any details about their dispute, but he emphasized it was a personal matter between Hussle and Holder. Hussle acknowledged that he was involved with a gang when he was younger, and police said Holder is a gang member, but the chief said gang rivalries played no role in the shooting.
After shooting Hussle and the two other men, Holder fled in a waiting car driven by a woman, Moore said.
The police chief and the president of the city’s Police Commission, Steve Soboroff, had been scheduled to meet with Hussle on Monday to discuss the relationship between the police force and the inner city.
At Tuesday’s news conference an emotional Soboroff read from the email Hussle sent asking for the meeting.
“Our goal is to work with the department to help improve communication, relationships and work towards changing the culture and dialogue between LAPD and your city,” Hussle said in the email.
A memorial with art, flowers and tributes to Hussle grew around the store that he had hoped would be an anchor to revive the blocks around it.
Hundreds of fans and friends came to celebrate him. The scene grew tense Monday night when one man brandished a gun and caused a stampede that left nearly two dozen people injured, police said.
The 33-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, had recently purchased the strip mall and planned to redevelop it into a mixed-use commercial and residential complex.
The plan was part of Hussle’s broader ambitions to remake the neighborhood where he grew up and attempt to break the cycle of gang life that lured him in when he was younger.
“Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman on Tuesday joined a chorus of prominent names who have praised Hussle for his art and his humanity.
“He’s a person that — he didn’t see himself just rising on his own, that he saw himself rising with his community, with the people that he actually grew up with and knew,” Boseman told The Associated Press at the CinemaCon expo in Las Vegas. “So to me, anybody that puts that much energy back into their surroundings, you have to honor them.”
Boseman added, “People knew where his heart was. And his music was great.”