Injured man alongside Nipsey Hussle testifies and remembers slain rapper’s last words

Injured man alongside Nipsey Hussle testifies and remembers slain rapper’s last words

Nipsey Hussle - Credit: (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Nipsey Hussle – Credit: (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

One of the two men injured when Nipsey Hussle was brutally executed in a South Los Angeles parking lot three years ago testified on Monday that after the gunfire ended he heard what were likely the last words of the famous rapper.

“He shot me. He shot me,” Hussle said as he bled on the floor outside his Marathon clothing store after the shooter fled the scene, witness Shermi Villanueva told jurors. , 47 years.

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Villanueva said he and his uncle, Kerry Lathan, spoke to Hussle as they stood between two parked cars seconds before their attacker – identified by prosecutors as Eric Holder Jr. – approached and started to shoot. “I heard it, then I saw Nipsey go down,” Villaneuva said, referring to the volley of shots. “When I looked up and saw Nipsey, I started running.”

Villanueva, who said she works in the “medical field”, described feeling something hit her belt buckle. He later noticed bleeding but ultimately refused the paramedics’ request to go to the hospital for treatment that day, he said.

In his opening statement last week, Assistant District Attorney John McKinney warned jurors that getting Villanueva to speak about the incident “is going to be a challenge.” McKinney said Villanueva grew up in the South Los Angeles community where the shooting took place, an area where the Rollin ’60 gang discourages people from cooperating with law enforcement of any kind.

Indeed, Villanueva’s testimony was so soft and stilted that it was sometimes hard to hear. He refrained from characterizing his reactions and gave very dry answers, mostly yes or no. Asked by Holder’s defense attorney, Aaron Jansen, what happened when he turned around and saw his uncle also on the ground with a gunshot wound, Villanueva seemed clinical.

“He was like, ‘I’m down too.’ We were paying attention to Nipsey, and he was like, ‘I got shot too,'” Villanueva testified. “I told him, ‘Don’t move,’ because he said he had been shot in his back and that he might have a spinal injury.”

Villanueva said he never heard the shooter say any words before he opened fire. He had no idea anyone was in danger before the deadly attack, he testified.

Holder, 32, pleaded not guilty to one count of premeditated murder for Hussle’s murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder for the wounds of Villanueva and Lathan. Jansen said in his opening statement that Holder attacked “in the heat of the moment,” meaning his actions were not premeditated.

Prosecutors say Holder fired at least 10 rounds at Hussle with a black semi-automatic handgun in one hand and a smaller silver revolver in the other, killing the 33-year-old posthumous Grammy winner near the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard on March 31. 2019.

Ingrid Caston also testified on Monday, recalling how she was sitting in the driver’s side of a parked Audi, eating food, when the shooting happened a few feet away.

“I heard gunshots and it sounded like fireworks. I said to the lady in the car with me, ‘Are those fireworks?’ “, she recalls. “Everyone started to disperse and a few people ran. Nipsey, I saw him fall.

Caston said she saw the shooter and believed it was the same man she saw earlier in the parking lot walking around shirtless. She heard “more than seven” shots. “I was so focused. I watch in disbelief and then after when he’s finished he kicks it and after he runs right past me. I was shocked, watching. It’s how it happened.

Bryannita Nicholson, 35, took the witness stand on Monday afternoon and said she acted as Holder’s unwitting driver on the day of the murder.

The housekeeper said she met Holder while working as a Lyft driver and started hanging out with him in the weeks leading up to filming in what she described as a casual romantic relationship without any conditions. She said the day Hussle died, Holder directed her to the parking lot of the Marathon store and engaged the famous musician in a conversation about “snitching.”

“You said I went wild?” Holder asked Hussle, according to his testimony.

“It didn’t sound like he was crazy,” she told jurors, describing Holder’s voice as “loud” but not “aggressive.”

Nicholson said Hussle posed for a photo with her, and soon after, she and Holder walked around the block. She said Holder began loading bullets into a black semi-automatic pistol as she sat in her car. She asked him to put the gun away, and he did, she testified. Shortly after, as they were parked in a nearby alley so Holder could eat his chili fries, Holder jumped out of the car and told him not to leave until he got back, she said. She saw Holder turn a corner toward Hussle’s store and then heard several gunshots, she testified. Holder then reappeared and told her to drive in a “stern” voice, she said.

“I was like, ‘What happened?’ He was like, ‘Drive!’ [He said] I talk too much. He was like he was going to slap me,” she testified.

Nicholson said she took Holder back to Long Beach and didn’t hear that Hussle had been killed until later that night.

During his opening statement, McKinney described Nicholson as naïve.

The judge overseeing the trial ended Nicholson’s testimony early Monday because the air conditioning in the crowded courtroom was not working. A technician who arrived to fix the problem said the room had exceeded 82 degrees.

McKinney tells rolling stone he expects to wrap up his part of the evidence in the case by the end of the week, ahead of schedule.

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