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Nov 1 (Reuters) – Rapper Takeoff, a member of the influential, Atlanta-based rap group Migos, was shot and killed at a party held at a Houston bowling alley early on Tuesday.
Takeoff, 28, whose real name is Kirshnik Khari Ball, was found dead at the scene at about 2:40 a.m. (0640 GMT), police said. Two other victims, a man and woman both in their 20s, were wounded by gunfire but expected to survive.
The rapper was a key member of the trend-setting Atlanta-based hip hop trio whose hits include “Bad and Boujee” featuring rapper Lil Uzi Vert, “MotorSport” and “Walk It Talk It.”
“Takeoff was not only a brilliant musical artist with unlimited talent but also a uniquely kind and gentle soul,” his attorney Drew Findling said.
White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre called Ball’s death the latest example of gun violence in America that President Joe Biden was working to reduce.
“In other cases, we may not know the names of the victims but we equally mourn with their families and communities. Our deepest condolences are with the families of each and every one of the victims,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
At least 40 people were at the party when at least two gunmen opened fire, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said during a briefing. He asked witnesses to call police with information.
The chief said police do not believe that Ball was involved in criminal activity but said the shooting was not a random event. Police have not offered a motive for the shooting other than saying there was an argument at the party.
“At least two people were pulling triggers,” Finner said. “Take my word, we will find out who is responsible.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also pleaded witnesses to come forward. “We intend to solve this,” he said. “Too many young black men are getting killed. Pray for the family.”
A second member of Migos – Quavo, 31, whose real name is Quavious Keyate Marshall – was at the party but was not hurt, Rolling Stone reported.
Grief over the death of Takeoff, an Atlanta native, flooded the internet in the hours after the first reports emerged.
“Dead over dice. We are better than this. Black men deserve to grow old,” Mayor Khalid Kamau of South Fulton, an Atlanta suburb, wrote on Twitter.
Takeoff is the latest rap artist to have been killed by gun violence in recent years, following Nipsey Hussle, Pop Smoke and King Von.
Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was gunned down in 2019 outside his South Los Angeles store.
New York rapper Pop Smoke was fatally shot during a home invasion in Hollywood Hills, California, in 2020. Dayvon Daquan Bennett, known professionally as King Von, was fatally shot in 2020 outside an Atlanta hookah lounge after an argument. (Reporting by Rich McKay; additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Stephen Coates)