Teen Confesses To Killing Pop Smoke Over A Rolex, LAPD Says
Detectives reveal how they were able to identify multiple suspects after the rapper's death.
Pop Smoke attends the Louis Vuitton Menswear Fall/Winter 2020-2021 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 16, 2020 in Paris, France. [Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]
Bashar Barakah Jackson, also known as the rapper Pop Smoke, was in California on a four-day work trip when he was shot dead in his rented Hollywood Hills home. Now, new details have come to light about the Brooklyn-based artist’s murder and those accused of committing the crime.
On the evening of February 19, 2020, Jackson spent time in a Hollywood recording studio before returning to his rental, where he went to his bedroom with Amelia Rose, an acquaintance, detectives said in a two-day May court hearing. The rapper’s longtime friend, Michael “Dee” Durodola, went to another bedroom in the residence.
Los Angeles Police Department detective Christian Carrasco testified that Rose told him that at some point Jackson had gone to take a shower. As she lay in bed, she saw the curtains moving before several gunmen in ski masks stormed into the room from a second-story balcony. According to Rose, Jackson struggled with the intruders in the bathroom. He screamed and she heard a “loud pop.” Jackson came out of the bathroom, fell but was able to get back up and flee down a staircase. Rose said she heard two more gunshots.
After the shooting, the teenagers fled. Durdola called 911 after finding Rose at the bottom of the staircase in the foyer screaming next to the body of his childhood friend.
Jackson was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
According to court testimony, the suspects only managed to get away with a watch they fenced for $2,000.
Almost five months later, on July 9, 2020, police arrested four teenagers on suspicion of murder: two adults Corey Walker, 19, and Keandre Rodgers, 18, and two minors not named because of their age. One of the juveniles, a 15-year-old boy, is accused of firing the three shots that killed Jackson.
Detectives said in court the suspects allegedly targeted the rapper after he posted on social media a picture of a gift bag from the luxury brand Amiri that had his home address visible on a label, The Los Angeles Times reported. The "For the Night" rapper’s talent manager reportedly asked him to take down the post — but it was already too late.
The first break in the case came when investigators pulled surveillance video from neighborhood homes and noted a BMW and Infiniti, Frank Flores with LAPD’s Robbery Homicide Division told the court. DMV records for the vehicles allegedly showed both were registered to Walker.
When Walker purchased the car, investigators discovered he provided a Google address to the seller. Detectives got a warrant and began monitoring the account.
Flores testified detectives observed a person using the account allegedly looked up the victim’s address, including on Zillow, which showed photos of the property, queried information on a “Rolex oyster perpetual datejust” and searched for “breaking news LA” before checking a news site, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Detectives also looked into Walker’s movements by accessing his phone records and collecting cell tower data, which allegedly tied him to a second suspect in the case and put the pair in the vicinity of Jackson’s home the night of the murder, LAPD detective Sean Hansen said in court.
The final piece of the puzzle fell into place after investigators used hidden recording devices to eavesdrop on allegedly incriminating conversations between prison inmates and two suspects in Jackson’s death who were incarcerated on unrelated cases.
Walker is charged with murder as an adult. He faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
Three underage teenagers are also charged with the rapper’s killing, detectives said in court.
Rest Up Pop Smoke, you were too young. God Bless and comfort your family. What a crazy trajectory you were on man smh 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) February 19, 2020
No such thing as success with out jealousy, treachery comes from those who are close. R.i.P pic.twitter.com/OZxKtpPZog— 50cent (@50cent) February 19, 2020
Over a year after Jackson’s death, he was honored at May’s 2021 Billboard Music Awards with five accolades: top new artist, top rap artist, top rap male artist, top Billboard 200 album and top rap album, according to People.
The late musician’s mother, Audrey Jackson, thanked her son’s fans for honoring her “young warrior” and his “life and spirit.”
“He created music for the kid who has to sleep four in a room, the kid who has to figure out how to get to school each day so he can graduate and make his mom proud,” she told the audience of the Brooklyn drill scene pioneer whose debut studio album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon was posthumously released. “He did this so that 14-year-olds would not have to kill to prove they are somebody.”
“That is the irony in this,” she added, concluding, “Bashar Barakah Jackson, we call your name.”