LOS ANGELES — Two young men and two teenage boys were charged July 13 with killing rap artist Pop Smoke during a robbery at a Hollywood Hills home nearly five months ago.
Corey Walker, 19, and Keandre Rodgers, 18, were arraigned July 14 on capital murder charges stemming from the Feb. 19 killing of the 20-year-old, New York-based rapper, whose real name was Bashar Jackson.
A special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed during the commission of a robbery and burglary means that, if convicted as charged, Walker and Rodgers would be eligible for a death sentence. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to pursue the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole for the defendants, who are also facing gang and gun allegations.
Two boys aged 15 and 17 were charged with murder and robbery in juvenile court, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Their names were withheld because they are underage.
Officers went to 2033 Hercules Drive in the Hollywood Hills about 4 a.m. Feb. 19 in response to a 911 call and found the mortally injured rapper, who was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
After making five arrests in the case last week, police said that investigators believed the men and boys entered Jackson’s short-term rental home and shot and robbed him inside. Investigators believe the suspects are “members of a Los Angeles street gang.”
LAPD Capt. Steve Lurie said the 911 call that brought police to the Hercules Drive address came from someone on the East Coast who “stated a friend of theirs home was being broken into by multiple suspects, and that one of them was armed with a handgun.”
“When officers arrived there approximately six minutes later, they discovered a victim inside the house had been shot,” Lurie said. “They called the fire department, who arrived and transported that victim to Cedars-Sinai, where he was pronounced dead.”
The suspects were wearing masks and were last seen running from the home and possibly getting into a nearby vehicle.
Officers detained several people who were inside the house, according to Lurie, but “all of those folks were released. … No one was arrested at the scene.”
According to various media reports, the up-and-coming New York rapper posted photos earlier on Feb. 19 or late on Feb. 18 from a party at the home, even revealing the address. According to TMZ, one of the photos showed a person holding a large sum of money.
Investigators believe at least some of the suspects are also involved in the killing of 18-year-old Kamryn Stone in the Rose Bowl parking lot in Pasadena last Sept. 14, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Property records indicate the home where the shooting occurred is owned by Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave — who appears on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and is a daughter of musician John Mellencamp — and her husband, Edwin Arroyave.
Pop Smoke released an album in July 2019, and one of the songs, “Welcome to the Party,” was considered by many the song of the summer. Nicki Minaj did a remix of the song a few months later. The rapper also collaborated with Travis Scott on a song called “Gatti.”