Pop Smoke was gunned down by a 15-year-old shooter who ambushed the Brooklyn rapper with a group of teens bent on stealing the singer’s diamond-studded Rolex, a detective testified Friday.
The home intruders also were after the rapper’s Cuban link chain but apparently only managed to swipe the luxury timepiece, which they later resold for $2,000, the detective said.
The teen who pulled the trigger, the youngest of the four defendants now facing murder and robbery charges in the case, allegedly admitted his role in the Hollywood Hills slaying during a recorded interview with a cellmate at a juvenile detention center last May.
“He admitted that he shot the victim three times with a Baretta 9 (mm),” Los Angeles Police Department Detective Carlos Camacho testified Friday at a preliminary hearing for a different suspect, Corey Walker, 20, the sole adult defendant in the high-profile case.
The 15-year-old defendant “admitted that they asked for the jewelry” and then had “a confrontation” with Pop Smoke that quickly turned deadly, the detective said.
“They got into a fight, and he shot him three times,” Camacho said, citing the 15-year-old defendant’s recorded juvenile detention center interview. “He said he shot him on the back.”
Walker, 20, has pleaded not guilty in the case. His defense lawyer Christopher Darden told the New York Daily News on Friday that Walker never even entered the house for the deadly confrontation, though prosecutors have placed him at the scene with cellphone records and say his Infinity was the getaway vehicle.
According to Camacho, Walker also confessed to his role in the murder during a separate, secretly recorded jailhouse interview with a different adult informant placed in his cell after his July arrest.
Walker allegedly admitted the group used ski masks, gloves and a police scanner as they carried out the home-invasion robbery.
“He said that when the individuals got inside, the suspects confronted (Pop Smoke), who was in the shower naked,” Camacho testified.
During his recorded conversation with the cellmate, Walker allegedly said the teens inside the home demanded Pop Smoke’s jewelry, which he was still wearing, and even said “Thank you” when it appeared he was complying, Camacho said.
But the rapper apparently decided to fight back and “rushed” the intruders, who “pistol whipped” him before the 15-year-old suspect shot him in the chest, Camacho said, citing Walker’s account of what happened.
Darden objected to the testimony about Walker’s interview, calling it hearsay since Walker wasn’t inside the house. The judge allowed it.
Pop Smoke, born Bashar Barakah Jackson, was fatally shot during the 4 a.m. home invasion at the rented home in the Hollywood Hills on Feb. 19, 2020.
Public testimony in the case started Thursday with two LAPD detectives taking the witness stand to give the first public and detailed account of what allegedly happened.
Detective Christian Carrasco testified Thursday that a woman who was with Pop Smoke in the rented home’s second-story bedroom recalled seeing a group of men storm through curtains from a balcony accessible by a backyard staircase.
One of the men allegedly pressed a black semiautomatic firearm to her forehead and shouted, “Shut the f--- up. Do you want to die?”
“She heard a struggle coming from the shower area and heard Mr. Jackson screaming. Mr. Jackson ran out of the bathroom and then she heard a loud pop and (heard) Mr. Jackson fall to the ground,” the detective said.
“Two other individuals began to kick him,” Carrasco said, citing the woman’s testimony.
Upon hearing her son was kicked, Jackson’s mother Audrey Jackson was visibly upset.
Similarly Friday, Jackson’s dad Greg Jackson let out an audible gasp when he heard the killing was over a $2,000 payday.
Pop Smoke was a fast-rising rap star known for his gravelly voice and inventive take on drill music when he died at age 20, just weeks away from finishing his debut studio album.
Doctors rushed him into a major surgery called a “left thoracotomy,” but he suffered a “rapid” decline and couldn’t be saved, his death certificate said.
Pop Smoke had posted images on social media shortly before the shooting showing both the rented Airbnb home’s address and a large amount of cash. The cash was later found still inside a drawer at the rental home, according to testimony Friday.
When the rapper’s “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon” was released in July, it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with fellow rap stars Roddy Ricch, DaBaby, Lil Baby, Future, Quavo and Swae Lee listed as guest performers.
It was a massive hit, spawning multiple international top-10 singles including the R&B inspired track “What You Know Bout Love,” which also became a Top 10 song of the year on TikTok.
If convicted as charged, Walker would be eligible for the death penalty, the Los Angeles County district attorney said.©2021 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.