Suspect formally charged in Nipsey Hussle murder, due in court


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A 33-year-old Los Angeles man accused of killing Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle was formally charged with murder and attempted murder on Thursday, prosecutors said.

FILE PHOTO: Rapper Nipsey Hussle performs before a boxing match between Andre Ward and Paul Smith at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on 20/6/15. Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge

Eric Ronald Holder, who was arrested earlier this week in connection with the fatal shooting, was expected to make his first court appearance in the case later on Thursday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement.

Hussle, 33, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, was shot multiple times on March 31 outside his Marathon Clothing store, in south Los Angeles. Two other people were wounded in the gunfire, according to police.

Holder, 29, was taken into custody on Tuesday in the Los Angeles suburb of Bellflower after a tipster called to report seeing the man police had named as a suspect. Investigators have said that the killing was motivated by a personal dispute between the two men.

Holder faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted at trial. It was not immediately clear if he had retained a criminal defense attorney.

Holder is accused of walking up to Hussle and two other men outside the store and opening fire, before fleeing in a Chevy Cruze driven by a woman, police have said. The woman has not been identified publicly or arrested.

On Monday, a crowd gathered for a vigil outside Hussle’s clothing store. A disturbance set off a stampede and at least two people were critically injured, officials and media reports said.

Hussle’s debut studio album, “Victory Lap,” was nominated for Best Rap Album at this year’s Grammy Awards. His death rattled the entertainment and hip-hop world, with celebrities posting memories of him on social media.

The rapper, who was of Eritrean descent and grew up in south Los Angeles, has said that he once belonged to a street gang, but more recently had become a community organizer and activist.

The day he died, Hussle wrote on his Twitter page, “Having strong enemies is a blessing.”

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Dan Grebler

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