LOS ANGELES (AP) – Authorities believe aspiring rapper Pop Smoke was shot and killed in a robbery in Los Angeles in February after his social media posts led five suspects to the house he rented, police said after Detectives arrested the group on Thursday morning.
The Los Angeles police had initially rejected a theft theory in a house in the Hollywood Hills in the days after the 20-year-old rapper's death on February 19. Pop Smoke's legal name is Bashar Barakah Jackson.
Captain Jonathan Tippet, who oversees the elite of the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division, said three men and two teenagers were likely to have gone home knowing that pop smoke from social media posts was there. They stole items from the house, although Tippet said he couldn't reveal what was taken. The teenagers were 15 and 17 years old.
"We believe it was a robbery. At first, we didn't really have the evidence, but then we found some other evidence that showed that this was probably a bad home invasion," Tippet told The Associated Press Thursday.
The five suspects were arrested on Thursday morning when detectives issued several warrants in Los Angeles. It is believed that all are members of a gang in South Los Angeles that Tippet would not call, and at least some of them are said to have been linked to a murder in 2019 as a fight to a Rose Bowl shootout escalated in Pasadena.
Pop Smoke and his retinue, who remain at home, should not be associated with the gang, Tippet said. No one was shot during the incident.
The Los Angeles Times reported in February that the rapper had posted pictures of him posing at an infinity pool in the back yard of the house, as well as a picture of the Los Angeles skyline from the back yard of the house. In another post, Pop Smoke or a member of his entourage provided a picture of a Hollywood Hills gift bag and another photo showed him posing by a Ranger Rover in a place where the house's address was partially visible in the background .
"We believe that (the robbery of the home invasion) is based on some of the social media," said Tippet. "It's based on the fact that he published his information, which helped him know where to find him."
The house where the shooting took place belongs to Edwin Arroyave and his wife Teddi Mellencamp, daughter of the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp and a star of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills".
Teddi Mellencamp previously said on Instagram that the couple had been informed of the shootout on their rental property but didn't know more than they saw in media reports.
Pop Smoke entered the rap scene in 2018 and broke out with "Welcome to the Party", a gangsta anthem boasting about shootings, murders and drugs that became a huge sensation, and prompted Nicki Minaj, a verse on a remix to write.
Earlier this year, Pop Smoke released the mixtape "Meet the Woo 2", which debuted at number 7 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts. It was the continuation of his first official release, "Meet the Woo". The rapper also had the popular hit "Gatti" with Travis Scott and Jackboys and "Dior".
Last week Pop Smoke released his posthumous debut album "Shoot for the Stars", which received mostly positive reviews. The 19-track album included several star-studded guests, including 50 Cent, Roddy Rich, Future, Swae Lee, Quavo and others.
Associate press clerk Jonathan Landrum contributed to this.
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