Robbery looks unlikely as motive in rapper Pop Smoke's death, police say

Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY

The home-invasion death of up-and-coming rapper Pop Smoke does not appear to be part of a robbery, police said Thursday, as detectives sought to identify the shooter.

Investigators were not ruling out a robbery, but they were looking at other possible motives as well, said Capt. Jonathan Tippet, head of the Robber-Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Born Bashar Barakah Jackson, the 20-year-old New York rapper was known for his critically acclaimed song "Welcome to the Party." He died Wednesday at a home in the Hollywood Hills.

"We are devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke," his record label Republic Records told USA TODAY in a statement Wednesday. "Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together."

Los Angeles police officer Lizeth Lomeli confirmed a person was shot after an unknown number of suspects wearing masks entered a home on the 2000 block of Hercules Drive in Hollywood, California, but did not identify the victim.

Sarah Ardalani, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner, identified Pop Smoke as the victim of the shooting. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead early Wednesday morning.

An autopsy was planned after Pop Smoke was declared dead at a hospital. Police have not announced any arrests or named any suspects.

Pop Smoke death: Rapper killed in shooting at 20; music world mourns 'unexpected and tragic loss'

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Pop Smoke dropped his "Meet the Woo 2" mixtape this month. His death comes days after his latest release scored him his first top 10 spot on the Billboard charts

He collaborated with artists including Travis Scott, H.E.R., Quavo and fellow New York rapper A Boogie wit da Hoodie. The rapper was scheduled to perform at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami this year.

The New York-based rapper rose to fame with his single "Welcome to the Party" released in April. Fellow rappers Nicki Minaj and Dave East took notice and offered remixes of the hit song. The song was popular not only with fellow artists, Pitchfork listed it as one of the best songs of 2019, and Complex magazine ranked it as No. 14 on its "Best Songs of 2019" list.

Several stars mourned the late rapper with posts to social media, including Minaj, Chance the Rapper, 50 Cent and Meek Mill.

Pop Smoke had been scheduled to start a U.S. tour in Washington on March 2.

The home where the shooting occurred is owned by Edwin Arroyave and his wife Teddi Mellencamp, daughter of Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer John Mellencamp and a star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Teddi Mellencamp said on Instagram that the couple had been notified of the shooting at their rental property but knew no more than what they had seen in media reports.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pop Smoke death: Robbery looks unlikely as motive, police say

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