The murder trial is underway for the man accused of gunning down beloved rapper Nipsey Hussle outside his South Los Angeles clothing store.
Eric Holder, 32, faces one count of first degree-murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Prosecutors call the shooting a “calculated, premeditated” murder by a former friend of Hussle’s who became upset over a discussion about snitching.
According to the Associated Press, Deputy District Attorney John McKinney said during his opening statement Wednesday that there’s “no doubt” Holder knew in advance that he would kill Hussle. In addition to shooting Hussle at least 10 times, Holder kicked the rapper in the head before fleeing.
Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, was shot and killed on March 31, 2019, in the parking lot outside his store, known as “The Marathon.”
He and Holder knew each other, growing up in the same neighborhood, and were actually once members of the same gang, the Rollin’ 60s.
McKinney said the shooting stemmed from Hussle hearing that Holder was a snitch and needed to “clear that up.” Before the shooting, he said the rapper and his two friends were having a “cool conversation” with Holder.
At some point, Holder became enraged and, armed with a semiautomatic gun and a revolver, shot Hussle before fleeing the scene. Two others were wounded.
Holder’s defense attorney, Aaron Jansen, said the shooting was a case of “heated passion.”
If convicted, Holder faces life in prison.
Hussle was a hometown hero in the Los Angeles community he was working to revitalize. He was a father of two, sharing a son with actress Lauren London, and was nominated for a Grammy Award just months before he was killed. He was 33 years old.
Hussle received his nickname as a twist from famous 1970s comedian, “Nipsey Russell” due to his hard work ethic of selling CDs early in his career. He gained a devoted following through mixtapes and underground releases.