Alley near Nipsey Hussle murder scene will be closed for more than a year due to crime issues

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LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2019: A man walks by a mural at the strip mall property owned by Nipsey Hussle, and where he was killed in South Los Angeles, which has seen a steady flow of tourists and heightened police presence in light of recent trouble and gang presence. The strip mall includes HussleÕs Marathon Clothing store, as well as other businesses. Photo taken in Los Angeles, Calif., on July 18, 2019. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A man walks by a Nipsey Hussle tribute mural in 2019 at the South L.A. strip mall property that the rapper owned and where he was killed. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The alleyway near where rapper Nipsey Hussle was killed in South L.A. in 2019 will be temporarily closed to address what authorities say is a rash of criminal activity in the area.

The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to close the alley, located west of Crenshaw Boulevard between West Slauson Avenue and West 58th Place, for 18 months.

Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who led the charge to close the alley, wrote in an August 2020 motion that the alley has “become a hotspot for criminal activity” and advocated for it to be closed to “mitigate criminal activity and/or illegal dumping.”

Harris-Dawson asserted that the alley has become the site of theft, robberies, drug abuse and two shootings.

“The city should take action to ensure that this site remains a safe place for residents and visitors alike,” he continued. “There is a need to erect concrete barriers at the entrance of the alley on West Slauson Avenue and at the alley’s midpoint northerly of West 58th Place to close the alley, but preserve access to the residential and commercial properties adjacent to the alley.”

Hussle, a Grammy-nominated rapper, was shot March 2019 outside his Marathon Clothing store at 3420 W. Slauson Ave. The 33-year-old Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

A mural of Hussle was painted near the alley after his murder. In 2019, the intersection of Crenshaw and West Slauson Avenue was named Ermias "Nipsey Hussle" Asghedom Square in the late rapper's honor.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore wrote a letter to Harris-Dawson in June 2021, agreeing with his motion to temporarily close the alley. Moore didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Friday on the City Council's decision.

“Unfortunately, there has been a spike in crime in this proposed area since the mural of Nipsey Hussle’s image was placed on the wall,” Moore wrote.

Moore said two homicides, multiples armed robberies, narcotic sales, physical altercations, loitering and gang violence, among other crimes, have occurred at or near the alley.

“I believe the alley closure would serve as a deterrent to these criminal activities that have historically plagued this community,” Moore said.

A report by the city engineer's office this month argued that the alley's temporary closure wouldn't "substantially adversely affect traffic flow, safety on adjacent streets or in the surrounding neighborhoods, the operation of emergency vehicles, the performance of municipal or public utility services or the delivery of freight by commercial vehicles."

The office also said that the alley isn't necessary for pedestrian or vehicle access. All of the property owners affected by the alley's potential closure have already agreed to it, according to the report, and the closure would cost $5,000.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.