A 15-year-old has allegedly admitted to being the trigger man in the murder of rising hip-hop artist Pop Smoke.
The revelation came during testimony of LAPD Detective Carlos Camacho at a preliminary hearing for a different defendant in the case, 20-year-old Corey Walker. According to Camacho, the shooter, the youngest of four defendants in the case, admitted to a cellmate at a juvenile detention center that he indeed was the one who pulled the trigger on Pop Smoke. The interview from last May was recorded by police (via The Daily News).
According to Detective Camacho’s testimony, the 15-year-old “admitted that they asked for the jewelry” when “a confrontation” with Pop Smoke broke out. “He admitted that he shot the victim three times with a Baretta 9 (mm.),” the detective said. “They got into a fight, and he shot him three times.”
The detective further detailed the incident that led to Pop Smoke’s death. Warning for those uncomfortable with descriptions of violent crimes.
The 4:00 a.m. home invasion on February 19th, 2020 was planned after a group of teens, allegedly all members of the same street gang, learned of Pop Smoke’s location via his own Instagram posts. The rapper was staying at a Hollywood Hills Airbnb, the address of which was visible on a gift bag label next to a stack of cash in one image.
The defendants reportedly entered the building via a second-story balcony accessible by a staircase in the backyard. They found a woman who was staying with Pop Smoke, while the rapper was in the shower. One of the men apparently threatened the woman’s life when a struggle occurred in the bathroom. Pop Smoke had at first handed over his jewelry — for which the defendants are said to have actually thanked him — before attempting to fight back. He was then pistol whipped before the 15-year-old allegedly shot him. According to another detective’s testimony, two other individuals then began to kick the wounded man.
All of this was over two pieces of luxury jewelry: A Cuban link chain and a diamond-studded Rolex. The suspects left only with the latter item, which they apparently sold for just $2,000. The money seen in Pop Smoke’s social media images was still in a drawer when police arrived at the scene.
It seems that Pop Smoke’s parents, Greg and Audrey Jackson, didn’t know much of this information before hearing it in court. His mother told The Daily News the details were “all new.” “I just knew my boy was gone,” she added. “Now it really feels like he’s not coming back.”
Mrs. Jackson continued,
“I don’t know what I thought being here would do. I thought something would happen that would help me feel differently. But to hear they kicked him when he was down. It’s so disrespectful and dishonorable. There was no honor in this. And the irony in this is that those same kids are the kids he said he made music for… There need to be consequences, sufficient consequences. But as a people, we have work to do. Our children are killing each other. This just makes absolutely no sense to me.”
The detectives’ testimony came during the preliminary hearing for Walker. The only adult in the case, he was secretly recorded by a detention center informant admitting to his role in the crime. Making a motion to dismiss the murder charges against Walker, defense attorney Christopher Darden argued his client had only admitted to being a driver, and that, “At most, he’s a principal in a robbery” and “not an aider and abettor of premeditated murder.” Judge H. Clay Jacke II disagreed, denying the request and setting Walker’s rearraignment for June 3rd.
If convicted on the murder charge, Walker could face the death penalty under California law.
Pop Smoke’s posthumously released Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon recently broke the record for most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Rap Albums chart. It’s spent 21 weeks atop the charts, besting the 19 week record previously held by Eminem’s Recovery.