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Nipsey Hussle and his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles were the subject of a police investigation when the rapper was fatally shot outside the shop on March 31, The New York Times reports. The investigation remains open as police and the city attorney’s office contemplate whether to declare the store’s strip mall a site for gang activity, which would allow officials to fine the property’s remaining owners and even seize the property under so-called abatement laws. Hussle and partners purchased the commercial plaza earlier this year after Marathon Clothing’s former landlords were reportedly pressured to evict the rapper as part of the probe.
The investigation looks especially odd now after city officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff, publicly mourned Hussle’s death. Garcetti praised the rapper born Ermias Asghedom as an “artist, entrepreneur, activist and philanthropist” who “loved this city and gave of himself to uplift his neighborhood and his neighbors,” and the city council named the strip mall’s intersection at Crenshaw and Slauson after him. Hussle was a member of the Rollin’ 60s Crips who was known to invest in the community and support and employ former gang members; he planned to build apartments on the strip.
Thousands gathered at the plaza to mourn and pay tribute during the weeks following Hussle’s death. Marathon Clothing has however remained closed since the shooting. The ongoing investigation endangers the store’s future and Hussle’s development plans, as Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a city council member representing South Los Angeles, points out. “I think everybody in the community will do everything we can to make sure the ventures he started will continue,” he told the Times. “And this is a very confusing hiccup in this process.” You can read the full report here.
Hussle’s alleged killer Eric Holder currently faces one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a firearm, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. Police have said the shooting was not gang-related. Holder has pleaded not guilty.