Members of Houston’s rap community said they were in disbelief Friday after a well-known local promoter, who ran a strip club and had a large social media presence, was arrested and charged with the murder of Migos rapper Takeoff.
Just over a month after Takeoff was gunned down following a private party at a Houston entertainment venue, police announced Friday that they had arrested Patrick Xavier Clark, 33, on a murder charge.
Takeoff, 28, was an “innocent bystander” who was shot twice—including once in the head—after an argument that stemmed from a “lucrative dice game,” police said Friday.
“We lost a good man,” Police Chief Troy Finner said. “Hundreds of people I talked to spoke to what a great individual he was.”
Rapper Jmali told The Daily Beast on Friday that he and many others were “shocked” by Clark’s arrest, calling him a beloved promoter who ran The Flame HTX, a strip club that Clark posted about regularly on social media to his 20,000-plus followers.
Jmali said Clark was known around Houston as “DJ Pat.” He never knew Clark to be the violent type, theorizing that if the 33-year-old did have a gun on the night of Takeoff's death, that whatever ensued must have been an accident.
“You could see by the reactions of everyone that we’re shocked because that's not the type of person [Clark] is,” Jmali told The Daily Beast. “...He was about business, not violence.”
Jmali called the entire situation “unfortunate,” adding that Friday's news was completely unexpected for many in his circle.
“Pat was similar to Takeoff in that he was quiet and just went about his business,” Jmali said. “That’s why this is so surprising to everyone here.”
Clark’s social media accounts show that he carried on like usual in the days after Takeoff's death. He posted on Halloween—the day of the shooting—to “meet me at the club.” Then, on Nov. 2, he tweeted, “God got me he been had me.” On Nov. 8, he wrote, “Been hurt so many times it’s hard for me to feel love!!” followed the next day with, “I ain’t perfect I’m solid tho.”
The same went for the Instagram account for The Flame HTX, which Jmali said was run by Clark.
Others close to Clark said they felt he was being “framed” for the murder.
“I know him. He's not like that. I honestly feel like they got the wrong guy,” said one friend who knew Clark from his strip club. “He doesn’t get mad or hostile. He’s very nice and thoughtful. That’s all I have to say. I feel he is being framed.”
The friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Clark would not shoot someone because he “wouldn't jeopardize losing everything he worked so hard for.”
In a motion to deny Clark bail, cops wrote Friday that the 33-year-old had recently booked flights to Mexico and ordered an expedited passport. This, cops wrote, made him a flight risk.
Family members of Clark did not return messages from The Daily Beast, but one relative told a Beast reporter, “He’s a good kid, but I have no comment other than that.”
A second person, 22-year-old Cameron Isiah Joshua, was arrested last week for allegedly carrying a weapon illegally at the party at 818 Billiards and Bowling.
Police said security footage captured Joshua with a weapon but prosecutors were adamant he didn’t kill Takeoff, saying the charge of unlawfully carrying a weapon was “appropriate.”
A video of Takeoff's final seconds alive showed him hanging out alongside his uncle and groupmate, Quavo, as Quavo argued about basketball before a barrage of gunshots rang out.
Police said Friday that Takeoff was not involved in the argument or the dice game. “Wrong place at the wrong time,” Finner said. “No evidence to say anything different.”
Before shots were fired, a man dressed in all black could be seen in the video holding, and then drawing, a gun. Houston Police told The Daily Beast in November that the man was a person of interest but did not identify him. It’s unclear if that man was Clark.
Despite video and photos of the incident going viral, public updates on the investigation into who fired the shots that killed Takeoff and injured two others—including Quavo’s 23-year-old assistant Joshua “Wash” Washington—dried up.
Finner said Friday that officers struggled to get information because witnesses fled the scene and weren’t available to give statements to police.
He said Clark was pinned down as the suspected killer after hoards of forensic evidence was collected, and dozens of cellphone videos from the night.
Takeoff’s whereabouts were well documented on Instagram on his final night. He was seemingly bouncing around Houston with Quavo and Jas Prince, who was celebrating his birthday. One post showed the group in Fifth Ward, a Houston neighborhood, around 9:30 p.m., soon followed by posts at a private party at 810 Billiards & Bowling in downtown Houston.
The shooting happened outside the venue at around 2:30 a.m., Finner said. An 810 Billiards spokesperson said it happened outside its doors after closing.
Offset, who’d broken away from Migos to perform solo, paused his shows as people worldwide mourned Takeoff.
Offset and Takeoff had reportedly been at odds with each other when he left the group, but he later said he was in “unbearable” pain after the shooting.
“I wish I could hug you one last time,” he wrote. “Laugh one last time. Smoke one last time. Perform one last time…I love you forever, 4L and after.”
Earlier Friday, Offset played his first show since Takeoff’s death, performing at Miami club E11EVEN as Art Basel kicked off.
The rapper, who’s real name is Kiari Kendrell Cephus, dedicated his performance to Takeoff.
“We're doing this for my brother,” Offset reportedly told the crowd. “For Takeoff, let’s do this shit.”