UPDATE | The man accused of gunning down rapper Nipsey Hussle and injuring two other men in South Los Angeles was charged today with murder and other counts.
Eric Ronald Holder Jr., 29, pleaded not guilty to one count each of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, along with two counts of attempted murder. The charges include an allegation that Holder personally and intentionally discharged a handgun which caused great bodily injury and death to the rapper.
Defense attorney Chris Darden—a former prosecutor famed for his work in the O.J. Simpson murder trial—argued unsuccessfully to keep media cameras from filming his client during the arraignment hearing, saying he believed there was an “issue of identity.”
But Deputy District Attorney John McKinney countered that Holder’s image had already been widely disseminated in the media and that “identity won’t ultimately be an issue in this case.”
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sullivan ordered Holder to bejailed in lieu of $5 million bail while awaiting his next court appearance May 10, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial.
Holder, an aspiring rapper, could face a potential life prison sentence if convicted as charged, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff’s deputies detained him outside a mental health facility, and Los Angeles police officers went to the sheriff’s Lakewood station and confirmed the man was indeed Holder.
A witness told the website The Blast that Holder had called a mental health facility and claimed he needed “help.”
Law enforcement sources told TMZ.com that the LAPD was keeping Holder in solitary confinement, with authorities refusing to let him mingle with the general inmate population for fear that he’ll be attacked. The sources said he’ll remain in solitary once he’s transferred to L.A. County Jail.
PREVIOUSLY: Suspected killer of rapper Nipsey Hussle arrested in Bellflower, police say
4/2/19 | The man suspected of killing rapper Nipsey Hussle in South Los Angeles was arrested today in Bellflower, LAPD officials said.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Eric Holder around 1:15 p.m. after a member of the public called police to report a person who looked like Holder on Artesia Boulevard near Bellflower Boulevard, according to the LAPD.
Deputies detained Holder and took him to the Lakewood sheriff’s station where they confirmed his identity, police said.
A woman who witnessed the arrest captured some of it on cell phone video, which was posted on the news site The Blast.
Holder is accused of gunning down the 33-year-old rapper around 3:20 p.m. Sunday in front of The Marathon Clothing store the singer owned in the 3400 block of West Slauson Avenue in the Hyde Park area.
Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said Holder got into some type of personal dispute with the rapper outside the store, then left and returned with a handgun.
Hussle was shot in the head and body and died at a hospital, according to police and the coroner’s office. Two other men were also injured in the shooting, although one declined to be taken to a hospital.
Moore declined to discuss the nature of the disagreement between Holder and Hussle, but stressed the shooting appeared to be a result of that dispute, not any type of gang rivalry or feud—despite what he described as a recent uptick in gang violence in the area.
“We believe this to be a dispute between Mr. Hussle and Mr. Holder,” Moore said. “I’m not going to go into the conversations, but it appears to be a personal matter between the two of them.”
After the shooting, Holder was seen getting into a passenger seat of a white, four-door 2016 Chevrolet Cruze with California license plate7RJD742, Moore said. The car was driven by an unidentified female.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday afternoon that the woman had surrendered to police.
Moore stressed Tuesday morning that anyone who harbors Holder or helps him elude authorities will be prosecuted.
“There should be no safe haven for this individual,” Moore said.
He added: “We join, as does all of Los Angeles, in a somber day in the aftermath of a senseless, another senseless homicide, of an individual who posed such an opportunity to step into a conversation to help this city work its way through a sickness, a challenge, a seemingly tragic love affair with gun violence.”
At a news conference Tuesday morning at LAPD headquarters, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called for the community to work together to help solve this crime and other violent crimes—and to refrain from more violence.
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