Police said they have few leads in the fatal shooting of rapper Takeoff outside a private party at a bowling alley in downtown Houston.
Takeoff, whose off-stage name was Kirsnick Khari Ball, was one-third of the Grammy-nominated trio Migos along with his uncle Quavo and suburban Atlanta cousin Offset. The 28-year-old rapper was killed early Tuesday when gunfire erupted and also injured another man and a woman, according to Police Chief Troy Finner.
Most of the 40 people who attended the party at 810 Billiards & Bowling fled when the shots rang out, Finner said. That left police asking people to come forward and give statements and videos to investigators about what they saw and heard, even anonymously, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
At least two people discharged firearms, according to Finner. The other two who were hit by gunfire had non-life-threatening injuries and traveled to the hospital in private vehicles, he said.
“Let me just ask … anyone with information on the shooter(s) to provide that information to HPD and let us resolve this situation,” Turner said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Let’s do justice to this family.”
Finner said Takeoff was “well respected” and there was “no reason to believe he was involved in anything criminal at the time.”
Migos label Quality Control mourned Takeoff’s death in a statement posted on Instagram.
“Senseless violence and a stray bullet took another life in this world and we are devastated,” the statement said, although police said nothing about the shot being a lost item. “Please respect his family and friends as we all continue to deal with this monumental loss.”
The bowling alley is in a three-story Houston shopping complex with upscale restaurants and a House of Blues and is near a Four Seasons hotel. Takeoff was pronounced dead at the scene of the 2:30 a.m. shooting. An Associated Press reporter observed a body loaded into a medical examiner’s van around 10 a.m., more than seven hours after the shooting.
Security guards in the area heard the shot but did not see who fired it, a police spokesman said. A spokesperson for 810 Billiards & Bowling said the shooting took place after the lane was closed and said the company was cooperating with investigators.
Several fans gathered in front of the bowling alley. Isaiah Lopez, 24, said he rushed from his home in the Houston suburb of Humble after hearing Takeoff had been killed.
“He was one of our favourites, mine and my brother’s. That’s all we would listen to,” Lopez said as he carried a dozen roses he hoped to place near the site of the shooting. “As soon as my brother called me and said, ‘The take off is over,’ I had to come here and pay my respects.”
Thomas Moreno, 30, lives about five minutes from the bowling alley. He said he met Takeoff at a Houston bar and restaurant event in June and called him “really nice.”
“I think he’s just another good person gone too soon,” Moreno said. “It happens every day, but it hurts even more when it’s someone so talented and so young.”
By late Tuesday afternoon, fans had created a memorial with roses, candles and a teddy bear on the first floor of the shopping complex. The yellow crime scene tape is still blocking the stairs to 810 Billiards & Bowling.
Takeoff’s murder came as Houston was in the spotlight, with the Astros baseball team hosting the most-watched World Series race since 2019.
Additionally, crime has emerged as a major political issue in this year’s midterm elections, with many Republicans running on policing platforms while Democrats attempt to balance public safety with calls for criminal justice reform.
Nationwide homicides jumped nearly 30% in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Violent crime appeared to stabilize somewhat in 2021, but did not drop to pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest FBI crime data, although changes to record keeping meant that the report no did not include some of the largest police departments in the country.
In Houston, the mayor and police chief acknowledged those concerns while noting that some violent crime rates are down from last year. Finner said he wanted to meet with other hip-hop artists to talk about violence, though he didn’t say Takeoff’s murder had anything to do with his work in music.
“We all need to stick together and make sure no one tears this industry down,” Finner said.
Migos first broke through with the massive hit “Versace” in 2013. They had four Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, although Takeoff was not on their multi-week No. 1 hit “Bad and Boujee,” featuring Lil Uzi Vert. They released a trilogy of albums titled “Culture,” “Culture II,” and “Culture III,” with the first two reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. They also won an ASCAP Vanguard Award in 2018 for their streaming success with multi-platinum songs like “Motorsport (with Cardi B and Nicki Minaj)”, “Stir Fry” and “Walk It Talk It”.
The trio also played a fictionalized version of themselves on an episode of the hit TV show “Atlanta,” but the band weren’t currently together.
Offset, who is married to Cardi B, released a solo album in 2019, while Takeoff and Quavo released joint album “Only Built for Infinity Links” last month. Quavo posted links to his Takeoff Halloween-themed music video, “Messy,” on his Instagram on Monday, along with a video of him and his friends driving around Houston.
This story has been corrected to show Takeoff was killed on Tuesday, not Friday.
Landrum reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writer Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jake Bleiberg in Dallas, and Lindsay Whitehurst in Washington contributed to this report.
. police Houston search for witnesses murder rapper Takeoff