Rapper Nipsey Hussle was praised as a peacemaker who worked to reduce gang violence in South Los Angeles. But Hussle, who was shot and killed in a parking lot in March, was secretly under investigation by the LAPD at the time of his death, the New York Times reports. Sources tell the paper police were investigating whether a strip mall he owned—the one where he was gunned down—"was a hub of gang activity." Hussle was open about having been a member of the Rollin’ 60s Crips, and police say it was another member of that LA gang that murdered the rapper. Witnesses say that shortly before he was shot, they heard Hussle telling his alleged killer that there were rumors he was snitching on the Rollin' 60s.
Police, who have said Hussle was killed over a personal—rather than gang-related—dispute, are still investigating exactly what started the confrontation between him and his alleged killer. And the Times reports that it remains unclear what prompted the LAPD and the office of the city attorney to start investigating Hussle, but it notes that the inquiry is what's known as an abatement or nuisance probe—something the city has long used to crack down on gangs—that it is centered on the strip mall itself (such probes are a way of targeting spaces, rather than individuals), and that investigators see Hussle's murder "as just the sort of violent act they were worried could happen at the property." The probe has continued after Hussle's death, focusing on the rapper's partners on the property. Click for much more from the Times, which also reports that police and the city were allegedly pressuring the strip mall's former landlords to evict Hussle and his partners, which is what led to the group purchasing the property. (Read more Los Angeles stories.)