Houston officials have vowed to bring justice in the murder of rapper Takeoff, with the police chief calling the 28-year-old Atlantan a “peaceful” man and urging all witnesses to the shooting to come forward.
The rapper, who is part of multi-platinum hip-hop trio Migos, was at a bowling alley and pool hall where a private party was held early Tuesday. A 911 call received at 2:34 a.m. reported a shooting in progress, and officers discovered Takeoff dead on the third level, just outside the front door, police said. The Harris County Medical Examiner said Takeoff died of “penetrating gunshot wounds to the head and torso in the arm.”
There were about 40 people at the event, many of whom left “perhaps out of fear,” Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said.
A 23-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman were also injured and took private vehicles to the hospital, Sgt. Michael Arrington of the Homicide Division told reporters on Tuesday. He did not elaborate on their injuries, but said: “They will both be fine.”
Employees told police gunfire erupted after the party when a large group of people gathered outside the front door “and this led to an argument where the shooting took place at because of the disagreement,” Arrington said.
“A lot of people who were there fled the scene and didn’t stay to make a statement,” the sergeant said. “All we can hope for is that you will reach out and give us evidence to solve Takeoff’s death.”
Investigators believe the suspect or suspects, possibly in their 20s, attended the private party and at least two firearms were discharged, Finner said. Police are in the process of tracking down the casings and reviewing surveillance footage, he said.
“Notice my words,” Finner said. “This great city, with our great citizens, with our police department – we will find out who is responsible for it. … We’ll take them into custody, okay?
Investigators face the challenge of an anti-snitch culture that many hip-hop artists have long embraced. Takeoff’s uncle and bandmate Quavo appeared on a posthumous 2020 Pop Smoke track, “Snitching,” which decried “rats” and spoke to the police. Pop Smoke was shot in Los Angeles months before the track was released.
Finner, however, clarified that investigators did not believe Takeoff was “involved in anything criminal at the time,” he said.
“I’ve had many calls from Houston and outside of Houston, and everyone has been saying what a great young man he is, how peaceful he is, what a great entertainer (he is)” , said the chief. “From what people say about him, he’s very respected, non-violent. I wouldn’t expect him to be involved, but I want to wait for the investigation.
He continued: “I ask you one thing and I want it to resonate with everyone: what if it was your brother? What if it was your son? You would like someone to intervene, so please intervene. Send us the information so that we can put an end to this family who is suffering at the moment.
Finner cautioned against blaming hip-hop, saying, “Sometimes the hip-hop community gets a bad rap,” but he knows and respects a lot of members of the community. Like Atlanta, Houston has a strong rap scene and boasts several stars, including Travis Scott, Megan Thee Stallion, Paul Wall and prolific producer DJ Premier.
“There are so many talented individuals, men and women in this community that I love and respect once again, and we all need to come together and make sure no one tears this industry down,” said Finish. “I’m calling to start here…as early as possible next week.” I want to meet some of our artists and see how we can narrow things down.
Mayor Sylvester Turner also appealed: “If you have any information – for those in the hip-hop community, for those who were there last night – please provide that information to the HPD.”
He pointed out that the shooting speaks to a larger issue than hip-hop and expressed concern that while murders and violent crime are down in Houston, too many young men of color are s were killing each other.
“Now everyone has access to firearms,” the mayor said. “In my time, you have a disagreement – a fist fight and you handle it. On this day, if there is a disagreement, in those few seconds when emotions run high, people pull out their guns and then they shoot – and as a result we have too many young men of color who are injured or fatally killed and their future is cut off and family members and friends are left to mourn. This should not be our reality.
Along with law enforcement, he echoed Finner’s promise that Houston police would find the person or persons responsible for the rhymer’s murder.
“We will solve this particular case. We will find the shooter(s), but the information provided will help expedite that,” he said.
The news of Takeoff’s death was a blow to the hip-hop community, still reeling from the fatal shooting of rapper PnB Rock in September. Rapper Ja Rule tweeted“this shit has to STOP”, while Lecrae from Houston, wrote“No hot takes. No deep thoughts. Just sad that another rapper, son, brother and friend was killed. God be with all who feel the loss.
Born in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Takeoff began performing with Quavo and fellow relative, Offset, in 2008, and the trio found success with their 2013 single, “Versace.” Three years later, their track “Bad and Boujee” with Lil Uzi Vert propelled them into the international spotlight.
Migos now has four studio albums, two of which have gone platinum, along with a handful of solo projects and over a dozen mixtapes. Takeoff’s 2018 solo effort, “The Last Rocket”, reached number four on the US charts.
Takeoff and Quavo had just announced they would be performing as Unc & Phew, and their debut album, “Only Built for Infinity Links,” was released last month, with Billboard reporting that it had reached the premiere. up rap charts. .
Hours before he was killed, Takeoff tweeted the video for the single “Messy”, out of the project. On the track, Takeoff rhymes, “I wanna know my moves and all my spots, but I move smart / I wanna know my stash, how much I got, but I ain’t gonna tell ’em.”
Last month, he and Quavo appeared on the ‘Drink Champs’ podcast and in response to praise for his lyricism on ‘Infinity Links’, Takeoff told listeners, ‘Time to pop it, you know what I’m means? It’s time to give me my flowers, you know what I mean? I don’t want them later when I’m not there. I want them right now, so…”
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