In Los Angeles, a vigil to honor the late rapper Nipsey Hussle ended in a stampede after inaccurate reports of shots fired in the area caused people to panic. According to the Los Angeles Times, 19 people were injured, including two in critical condition, around 8 p.m. as people attempted to flee the area.
Hundreds of people were gathered Monday night to remember Hussle, who was murdered in front of his business in L.A. A member of the assembled group was sharing some thoughts on the rapper when people started running.
Apparently, some of the crowd had reported hearing gunshots, and people attempted to disperse, knocking down and injuring others in the attempt to get away, including a reporter for the L.A. Times. Police on the scene worked to calm the crowd and find out what had caused the stampede. Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore tweeted that his team was attempting to protect the people present and denied that any shots were fired.
“Our people are on scene making every effort 2 protect everyone in attendance at the Nipsey Hussle vigil,” he said. “Reports of shots fired at the vigil do not appear to be accurate. We do have injured in the chaos and are attempting to restore order.”
“Our appreciation to those from our community actively working with members at the vigil to quell violence. Their work is vital,” he added.
Robert Arcos, assistant chief at the LAPD, said that the stampede may have started after two crowd members began fighting and one pulled out a gun.
Musician DeAndrew Harvey was at the memorial and said that he heard a fight break out. During the commotion, bottles and candles broke, which sounded like gunshots. Someone yelled “they’re shooting” and the crowd panicked.
“I don’t know who was fighting,” Harvey said. “I didn’t actually see the punches, but you just saw arms rolling, and glass breaking, and everybody running.”
A professor from California State in Long Beach, Alex Alonso, said that he was boxed in by police with dozens of people who were trying to find a way out of the chaos.
“I didn’t hear gunshots,” he said. “I just saw everyone running for their lives.”
Hussle was shot on March 31 when a gunman with whom the rapper may have been having a dispute with walked up to him and shot him in the head. Police say the shooter is Eric Holder, who police are searching for.
Eric Holder is wanted for Homicide in the shooting of Nipsey Hussle. He was last seen in a 2016 white 4 door Chevy Cruze CA license plate 7RJD742. Anyone with information related to his whereabouts or this deadly shooting is urged to contact South Bureau Homicide at 323-786-5100 pic.twitter.com/3pX4fbezDs— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) April 2, 2019