Pop Smoke murder: 2 men, 2 teens charged in rapper shooting death

Rapper Pop Smoke  during Paris Fashion Week on Jan. 15, 2020.
Rapper Pop Smoke during Paris Fashion Week on Jan. 15, 2020. Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images

Two men and two teens have been charged in the death of rapper Pop Smoke, who was killed during a Los Angeles home-invasion robbery in February, the district attorney’s office said Monday.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement that Corey Walker and Keandre Rodgers were charged with murder that occurred during the commission of a robbery and burglary.

The two teen boys, 15 and 17 years old, were also charged with murder and robbery while in juvenile court. Their names were not released due to their age.

Read more: Pop Smoke death: 5 people arrested in connection with rapper’s murder

The 20-year-old New York rapper, whose legal name is Bashar Barakah Jackson, was killed Feb. 19 at a home in the Hollywood Hills. A 911 call from a friend of someone in the house reported armed intruders inside the home, police previously said.

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Authorities did not initially believe the rapper’s death was related to a robbery. 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.

Pop Smoke was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead on Feb. 19.

Teddi Mellencamp previously 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.

The Make It Rain rapper’s record label, Republic Records, confirmed his death in a statement at the time, saying, “We are devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together.”

Read more: Pop Smoke’s posthumous album ‘Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon’ released

Walker, 19, and Rodgers, 18, could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. The arraignment for both men has been postponed until Tuesday.

Jaquan Murphy, 21, was also arrested in connection with the incident last week. The complaint includes gang and gun allegations.

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Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who oversees the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division, said three men and two teenage boys likely went to the home because they knew Pop Smoke was there from his social media posts. They stole items from the home, though Tippet said he could not divulge what was taken.

“We believe that it was a robbery,” he said. “Initially we didn’t really have the evidence, but then we discovered some other evidence that showed this was likely a home invasion gone bad.”

“It’s our belief that [the home-invasion robbery] was based on some of the social media posts,” Tippet added. “It’s based on the fact that he was posting his information may have contributed to him knowing where to find him.”

All five are believed to be members of a South Los Angeles gang, which Tippet would not name, and at least some of them are believed to be linked to a 2019 homicide when a fight escalated into a shooting outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Read more: Rapper Pop Smoke killed in home invasion

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Pop Smoke’s posthumous album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon was released earlier this month, nearly five months after he was shot and killed.

Pop Smoke’s posthumous album includes features from Lil BabyDaBabyFutureMigos‘ QuavoSwae Lee, Rowdy Rebel, 50 Cent, Roddy Ricch, Tyga, Karol G, Lil Tjay and King Combs.

It was initially set to be released on June 12, but was pushed back to July 3 because of the ongoing protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality that followed the death of George Floyd in the United States.

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His family announced a non-profit foundation named Shoot for the Stars, which the rapper founded before his death, with a focus on helping inner-city youth and helping to turn “their pain into Champagne by making their dreams a reality.”

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Anyone with information about Pop Smoke’s murder is urged to call Los Angeles Police Department, Robbery-Homicide Division investigators at (213) 486-6860.

—With files from The Associated Press