More details have surfaced surrounding the TRAGIC murder of rising hip-hop star Pop Smoke.
Pop Smoke was gunned down by a 15-year-old shooter who ambushed the Brooklyn rapper in Los Angeles last year with a group of teens bent on stealing his diamond-studded Rolex, a detective testified Friday.
The home intruders who stormed the Canarsie-bred rapper’s Airbnb rental in the Hollywood Hills also were after his Cuban link chain but only managed to swipe the luxury timepiece, which they later resold for just $2,000, the investigator said.
The trigger teen, the youngest of the four defendants now facing murder and robbery charges in the case, allegedly admitted his role in the slaying during a recorded interview with a cellmate at a juvenile detention center last May.
“He admitted that he shot the victim three times with a Baretta 9 (mm.),” LAPD Det. Carlos Camacho testified Friday at a preliminary hearing for a different suspect, Corey Walker, 20, the sole adult defendant in the high-profile prosecution.
The 15-year-old alleged shooter “admitted that they asked for the jewelry” and then had “a confrontation” with Pop Smoke during the 4 a.m. home invasion on Feb. 19, 2020, the detective said.
“They got into a fight, and he shot him three times,” Camacho said, citing the youngest defendant’s recorded jail interview. “He said he shot him on the back.”
To add insult to the tragedy, Smoke was kicked a few times after he was already down!
Walker, 20, has pleaded not guilty.
According to Camacho, Walker similarly confessed to his role in the deadly confrontation during a separate, secretly recorded jailhouse interview with a different informant placed in his cell after his July arrest.
Walker allegedly admitted the group used ski masks, gloves and a police scanner to try to evade detection.
“He said that when the individuals got inside, the suspects confronted (Pop Smoke), who was in the shower naked,” Camacho testified.
During his recorded conversation, Walker allegedly said the teens inside the home demanded Pop Smoke’s jewelry, which he was still wearing, and even said “Thank you” when it appeared he was complying, Camacho said.
But the rapper, born Bashar Barakah Jackson, decided to fight back and “rushed” the intruders, who “pistol whipped” him before the 15-year-old suspect shot him in the chest, Camacho said, citing Walker’s account.
After Deputy District Attorney Hilary Williams called her last witness for the preliminary hearing Friday afternoon, Walker’s defense lawyer Christopher Darden made a motion to have Walker’s murder charge dismissed.
He argued Walker was only the driver that night, never entered the house and even told the younger defendants not to shoot anybody.
“He’s clearly not an aider and abettor of premeditated murder,” Darden argued. “At most, he’s a principal in a robbery… He’s a driver. He is outside.”
Williams responded by arguing Walker had scouted the house hours earlier and knew his co-defendants planned to rob Pop Smoke at gunpoint to obtain the items he flashed in his Instagram photos.
“They specifically target this house wanting this victim to be there,” she argued, saying Walker’s actions showed a “reckless indifference to human life.”
Judge H. Clay Jacke II denied Darden’s request to reduce the charges and ruled there was “sufficient cause” to send Walker to trial. Walker is due back in court June 3 for rearraignment.
Public testimony in the case started Thursday with two LAPD detectives giving the first detailed account of what allegedly happened.
Det. Christian Carrasco testified Thursday that a woman who was with Pop Smoke in the rented home’s second-story bedroom recalled seeing a group of men storm through curtains from a balcony accessible by a backyard staircase.
One of the men allegedly pressed a black semiautomatic firearm to her forehead and shouted, “Shut the f–k up. Do you want to die?”
“She heard a struggle coming from the shower area and heard Mr. Jackson screaming. Mr. Jackson ran out of the bathroom and then she heard a loud pop and [heard] Mr. Jackson fall to the ground,” the detective said.
“Two other individuals began to kick him,” Carrasco said, citing the woman’s testimony.
Upon hearing her son was kicked, Jackson’s mother, Audrey Jackson, was visibly upset.
Similarly on Friday, Jackson’s dad Greg Jackson let out an audible gasp when he heard the killing was over a $2,000 payday.
“I didn’t know any of this. It’s all new. I just knew my boy was gone,” Audrey Jackson told the Daily News after the hearing ended Friday.
“Now it really feels like he’s not coming back,” she said, tears welling in her eyes.
“I don’t know what I thought being here would do. I thought something would happen that would help me feel differently. But to hear they kicked him when he was down. It’s so disrespectful and dishonorable. There was no honor in this. And the irony in this is that those same kids are the kids he said he made music for,” she shared.
“There need to be consequences, sufficient consequences,” she said. “But as a people, we have work to do. Our children are killing each other. This just makes absolutely no sense to me.”
Smoke was RUSHED to an area hospital for emergency surgery, called a “left thoracotomy,” but he suffered a “rapid” decline and couldn’t be saved, his death certificate said.
According to the law enforcement officials who testified, all four defendants were members of the same street gang and only learned of Pop Smoke’s whereabouts from his Instagram account.
They were able to see the address of the rapper’s Airbnb on a gift bag label and also that he had stack of cash with him in one photo. The cash was later found still inside a drawer at the rental home, according to testimony Friday.
If convicted as charged, Walker would be eligible for the death penalty, the Los Angeles County district attorney said.
When the rapper’s “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon” was released in July, it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.[source]
SAD story for such a young STAR on the rise…. RIP.