LOS ANGELES – The man charged with murdering rapper Nipsey Hussle outside his South Los Angeles clothing store surrendered without incident to Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in Bellflower two days after the shooting, a prosecution witness testified Wednesday.
Deputy Ryan Sauls told the downtown Los Angeles jury that he went to the Artesia Boulevard location on April 2, 2019, after getting a call that Eric Ronald Holder Jr. was at the facility.
“Did you have some information that he was wanted by the Los Angeles Police Department?” Deputy District Attorney John McKinney asked.
“Yes,” the sheriff’s deputy responded.
“He was just standing there looking in our direction. He was alone,” the deputy testified. “We called him to our direction and we detained him without incident.”
Los Angeles police detectives subsequently arrived at the Lakewood jail to transport Holder and to collect the clothing he had been wearing, according to the deputy.
During his opening statement in Holder’s trial, McKinney told jurors that Holder had worn the same clothing during the March 31, 2019, shooting.
Holder surrendered himself at the mental health clinic in Bellflower, his attorney, Aaron Jansen, told jurors in his opening statement.
Holder is charged with murdering the 33-year-old Hussle — whose real name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom — outside the rapper’s Hyde Park-area store.
An aspiring rapper, Holder is also charged with two counts of attempted murder and assault with a firearm involving two other people, along with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. The charges include allegations that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun and that he personally inflicted great bodily injury.
The prosecutor told the jury that the rapper had told Holder there was word on the street that he had been “snitching,” but there was “no hostility” before Holder left the parking lot and then returned to the strip mall a short time later firing two guns.
Hussle was struck by at least 10 and possibly 11 bullets in an “explosion of violence,” the prosecutor said, noting that the rapper was “shot from literally the bottom of his feet to the top of his head.”
Holder’s attorney conceded to jurors that his client “shot and killed” the rapper, but said the crime occurred in the “heat of passion.”
Holder was “so enraged” about the rapper’s accusation that he was a snitch that he returned nine minutes later “without thinking” and “acted without premeditation” in opening fire on him, Jansen told the panel.
Holder’s attorney noted that his client is charged with murder, but told jurors, “In fact, it should be voluntary manslaughter because he was acting in the heat of passion.” The defense lawyer said he is confident the panel will acquit his client of first-degree murder, along with the two attempted murder counts.
Testimony is set to continue Thursday.