LOS ANGELES – Nipsey Hussle simply tried to warn his alleged killer about rumors swirling in the neighborhood that he was “snitching” shortly before the beloved rapper was murdered, according to new testimony.
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 friend to friend, ‘I heard some paperwork floating around,’” Douglas testified. “He said, ‘If you aint telling, you need to handle it. You just caught a case — we need to know your paperwork!’”
Douglas, who knew both men since they were all members of the South Los Angeles Rollin 60s Crips street gang, testified Holder didn’t seem angry or agitated when Hussle told him about his concerns.
In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told jurors that respect is paramount in the gang culture, and being called a snitch or even suggesting such a rumor would be highly offensive to any gang member.
In his testimony, Douglas said he heard Holder tell Hussle that the rumors were “bullsh-t” and people had been “hatin’ on me.”
Holder, who was a wanna-be rapper, even asked Hussle if he had listened to his recent music before shaking his hand and leaving the shopping center on Slauson Avenue where Hussle owned several businesses.
Since the three men knew each other, Douglas said he didn’t think anything was unusual when Holder approached him and Hussle that day.
But ten minutes later, Douglas, who had already gone back inside the clothing store, said he heard several gunshots and saw his beloved friend on the ground with several open gunshot wounds to his body.
Douglas said he used his fingers to plug a bullet hole on Nipsey’s lower right abdomen and another hole on his top left clavicle area.
“There was a little blood on the back of his head,” Douglas recalled. “He didn’t say anything. He was just trying to breathe. He was still breathing up until the ambulance came and he was trying to get up.”
Deputy Public Defender Aaron Jansen said this case “is about heat of passion,” and admitted Holder shot Hussle because the rapper had called his client a snitch. However, the defense attorney claimed the shooting was not premeditated.
During his testimony, Douglas, who wore a Marathon t-shirt with Hussle’s image, oftentimes stared angrily at Holder and at one point addressed the defendant as “a stupid cuh,” a slang term for cousin. McKinney asked Douglas to try to keep calm and address Holder by his name.
When asked if testifying would be considered “snitching,” Douglas said, “Me getting on the stand right now would be considered snitching.”
Asked if he understood the dangers and the consequences for testifying in this trial, Douglas said, “I ain’t worried. Maybe in the 80s. It’s 2022. It’s time for change.”
Douglas testified that he was no longer in a gang, and said that while Hussle still knew a lot of his former gang’s members, the rapper no longer partook in that activity since he rose to fame.