On February 19, 2020, New York rapper Pop Smoke was murdered during a home invasion at his Los Angeles rental property. He was only twenty years old. The rising talent, born Bashar Barakah Jackson, was among the leaders of the drill movement in Brooklyn.
As authorities probed Pop Smoke’s killing, internet researchers fabricated their own explanations about what transpired, spreading confusion about his murder. TMZ claimed on February 29 that authorities struggled to determine a motive since many witnesses were untrustworthy or uncooperative. Captain Jonathan Tippet of the Robbery and Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department reportedly told the Los Angeles Times that he was “not comfortable calling it a robbery right now.”
Meanwhile, Pop Smoke’s admirers and web sleuths pointed out that he had uploaded photographs of a luxury car, cash, and designer goods on social media. He had also posted images of fancy bags on Facebook and Instagram; the whole location of the rental was evident on the box. Mike “Dee” Durodola, Pop Smoke’s friend, posted at least one photo with the location partially visible in the background, prompting several fans to accuse him of framing his friend. Derodulo, who was apparently at Pop Smoke’s rental during the fatal shooting, refuted the charges on Instagram, stating, “I WOULD NEVER IN MY LIFE SET UP MY BROTHER.” Police also investigated whether Jackson’s killing was related to his alleged affiliation with the Crips.
On July 9, 2020, the Los Angeles Police Department reported the arrest of five individuals in connection with the murder of Pop Smoke. Four days later, prosecutors reported that four of them had been charged with Pop Smoke’s murder: Corey Walker, 19, Keandre Rodgers, 18, and two minors whose names were withheld due to their ages.
(According to the Los Angeles Times, the fifth suspect apprehended was eventually not convicted in Pop Smoke’s killing, but was implicated in an “unrelated run of shootings” earlier that year.) Despite the fact that the suspects were members of an L.A. gang, police sources quoted by TMZ stated that they did not believe the crime was related to Pop Smoke’s possible gang affiliations, given that he was from New York City, nor was it part of an East Coast–West Coast conflict.
Last week, nearly a year after Pop Smoke’s murder, new details surfaced in court during two days of proceedings to determine if the case against Walker would move to trial. These proceedings provided the following information about Jackson’s death:
The alleged killer of Pop Smoke was only 15 years old.
The Los Angeles Police Department detective Carlos Camacho told the New York Daily News that the 15-year-old suspect fatally shot Pop Smoke. Allegedly, the youngsters responsible for Pop Smoke’s death were at his residence to take his diamond-encrusted Rolex and Cuban-link chain. According to the report, they only succeeded in snatching Pop Smoke’s watch and afterward selling it for only $2,000 dollars.
The suspected gunman, who is charged with murder and robbery, allegedly “confessed that they requested for the valuables” and then “confronted” Pop Smoke, according to Camacho. Camacho asserted, “They got into a fight, and he shot [Jackson] three times.” “[The defendant] stated that he shot him in the back.” The adolescent and his cellmate disclosed these details in a “recorded” jailhouse interview in May 2020, according to the New York Daily News.
Walker allegedly confirmed his involvement in the murder of Pop Smoke
Corey Walker admitted to his role in Pop Smoke’s death during a secretly recorded chat with an informant placed in his jail cell, according to the New York Daily News. Walker, who has pleaded not guilty, is said to have told this informant that the heist gang wore ski masks and gloves and utilized a police scanner in order to avoid being discovered.
The four suspects in Pop Smoke’s murder were all members of the same street gang, according to police testimony, and they only learned where the rapper was by reading his Instagram posts.
Pop Smoke was kicked by his attackers
According to the female companion, Carrasco, the first witness in last week’s hearings, stated that Pop Smoke was kicked after being shot. “Two more individuals began to kick him,” Carrasco was reported as saying by the New York Daily News. “Mr. Jackson rises and dashes downstairs. There are two additional pops. She chases Mr. Jackson, sees him unconscious on the ground and yells for Michael [Durodola] to call 911.
The murder is apparently linked to Walker’s automobile
Thursday, Los Angeles Police Department officer Frank Flores testified that surveillance footage linked Walker to the murder of Pop Smoke. Flores was quoted by the New York Daily News as saying that surveillance footage showed an Infinity transporting the suspects to the crime scene, and the license plate number was tracked to Walker. Prior to the murder, Walker had “been stopped in it for an unrelated incident,” according to the newspaper.
Walker’s case will proceed
Clay Jacke II, the judge hearing Walker’s case, rejected Darden’s request to lower the charges. Jacke concluded that Walker had “sufficient cause” to be tried. According to the New York Daily News, he will return to court on June 3 for “rearrest.” If Walker is found guilty of the latest counts, he could be sentenced to death. No trial date has been scheduled for Walker. The other accused are awaiting trial in juvenile court, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
According to Complex, despite the fact that Rodgers was recorded as 18 at the time of his arrest, his attorneys contended that he was actually a minor at the time of the offense, citing the fact that multiple government documents identified him at different ages. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office stated that a judge finally concluded there was sufficient evidence to certify him to juvenile court because he was a minor at the time of the incident.