LOS ANGELES — Nipsey Hussle was simply trying to warn his alleged killer about rumors swirling around the neighborhood that he was “snooping” moments before the beloved rapper was killed, according to new witnesses.
The conversation between Hussle and Eric Holder took place in the parking lot of the rapper’s Los Angeles store, Marathon Clothing, just 10 minutes before the deadly shooting at the same location on March 31, 2019, Hussle’s close friend Herman Douglas testified on Wednesday.
“[Hussle] told him from friend to friend, ‘I heard paperwork floating around,'” Douglas testified. “He said, ‘If you don’t say it, you have to deal with it. You just caught a case – we need to know your records!’”
Douglas, who knew both men because they were all members of the South Los Angeles Rollin 60s Crips Street Gang, testified that Holder did not appear angry or agitated when Hussle shared his concerns with him.
In his opening remarks, Assistant District Attorney John McKinney told the jury that respect is paramount in gang culture and that it would be highly offensive for any gang member to be called a snitch, or even to allege such a rumor.
In his testimony, Douglas said he heard Holder Hussle say the rumors were “bullsh-t” and that people “hated me.”
Holder, who was a wannabe rapper, even asked Hussle if he had heard his latest music before shaking his hand and exiting the Slauson Avenue mall where Hussle owned several stores.
Since the three men knew each other, Douglas said he found nothing unusual when Holder approached him and Hussle that day.
But ten minutes later, Douglas, who had already gone back to the clothing store, said he heard multiple gunshots and saw his beloved friend with multiple open gunshot wounds on his body.
Nipsey Hussle knew Holder because they were both members of the South Los Angeles Rollin 60s Crips street gang. Getty Images for Warner Music
Douglas said he used his fingers to plug a bullet hole in Nipsey’s lower right abdomen and another hole in his upper left collarbone area.
“There was a little blood on the back of his head,” Douglas recalled. “He said nothing. He was just trying to breathe. He was still breathing until the ambulance came and he tried to get up.”
Assistant Public Defender Aaron Jansen said the case was “about the heat of passion,” admitting that Holder shot Hussle because the rapper called his clients a snitch. However, the defense attorney claimed the shooting was not premeditated.
The defendant is accused of shooting Hussle in the parking lot of the rapper’s Los Angeles store, Marathon Clothing.BACKGRID / BACKGRID
During his testimony, Douglas, who wore a Marathon T-shirt with Hussle’s picture on it, often glared at Holder and once addressed the defendant as “a stupid bastard,” a slang term for cousin. McKinney asked Douglas to try to remain calm and to address Holder by his name.
When asked if testimony would be considered “espionage,” Douglas said, “If I took the stand now, it would be considered spying.”
Asked if he understands the dangers and the consequences of testifying at this trial, Douglas said: “I’m not worried. Maybe in the 80’s. It’s 2022. It’s time for change.”
Douglas testified that he was no longer in a gang, saying that while Hussle still knew many members of his former gang, the rapper has not been involved in that activity since finding fame.