Sam Quinones, Rong-Gong Lin II, and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2009
An Atlanta-based rapper was fatally shot in the valet waiting area of the Beverly Center mall Monday by a suspect who fled in a silver Mercedes SUV, according to police. Officers later detained a “person of interest” as he approached the ticketing area at Los Angeles International Airport armed with a gun.
The shooting occurred about 3:10 p.m. in the parking garage of the popular Westside mall, sending diners in nearby restaurants diving for cover.
Dolla, a rapper whose real name is Roderick Anthony Burton II, was shot in the head as he and several other people stood near the center’s La Cienega Boulevard entrance, according to police, witnesses and Dolla’s publicist, Sue Vannasing. A friend of the rapper’s who was at the Beverly Center and a Los Angeles Police Department official also confirmed the victim’s identity to The Times.
The LAPD has not announced a motive for the attack or identified any suspects. Detectives are questioning a woman they detained at the scene and a man who allegedly drove from the mall to LAX in a rented silver Mercedes SUV.
About an hour after the shooting, the LAPD issued a bulletin for a 20-year-old man considered a “person of interest” in the shooting. Los Angeles Airport Police officers spotted a man fitting the description in the ticketing lobby of Terminal 1.
“The suspect was detained without incident [and] discovered to be armed,” said Los Angeles World Airports spokeswoman Nancy Castles.
The killing comes 12 years after another shooting in Los Angeles threw the rap music business into turmoil. In that case, the rapper Notorious B.I.G. was shot to death outside the Petersen Automotive Museum, about two miles from the scene of Monday’s killing. Theories over the motivation for that killing have caused controversy ever since.