Pop Smoke, born Bashar Barakah Jackson, was at a residence in the Hollywood Hills area when, around 4:30 a.m., several men are said to have broken into the home. According to law enforcement sources cited in the report, the men "fired multiple shots," ultimately "critically wounding" Pop Smoke. He was then rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
At the time of this writing, the suspects are reported as having left the scene on foot. They have not been identified. TMZ sources "familiar with the surveillance video" say "at least" four masked men in hoodies are seen entering the house 10 minutes after other intruders bolted shut the front entrance.
In an update shared later Wednesday, TMZ clarified that the home in question was owned by Edwin Arroyave, husband of Teddi Mellencamp. Arroyave owns several properties in the Los Angeles area. TMZ also reported that a "party or gathering" had occurred at the house prior to the break-in.
A separate report from a regional NBC outlet stated that a man was killed in a shooting early Wednesday at a home in Hollywood Hills. That report, however, stated that their team "has not confirmed details about the deceased individual's identity." Sources also told ABC 7 that "detectives determined [the shooting] was gang-related," though no public announcements on that have been made by law enforcement officials. As many as six people are being sought in connection with the shooting.
An LAPD press conference was held later Wednesday, with Captain Steve Lurie, the commanding officer of the department's Hollywood division, noting that only "preliminary information" was presently available. The original 911 call, he told reporters, came from "someone back east" who told police that his friend's home was "being broken into by multiple suspects and that one of them was armed with a handgun."
Police arrived on the scene approximately six minutes later, he added. Despite some reports stating the contrary, Lurie also confirmed that no one was arrested at the scene. Furthermore, he declined to confirm the identity of the victim, but said that witnesses to the fatal shooting were being interviewed by homicide detectives.
Republic Records confirmed the artist's death in a statement. "We are devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together."
After the news of Pop Smoke's death broke, some people pointed fingers at his friend Mike Dee, who reportedly posted the address of the Hollywood Hills home on social media. Some people went as far as to accuse Dee of setting his friend up. Dee is said to have edited the post shortly after. Dee later took to Instagram, where he denied all the allegations, and mourned the loss of his friend.
Pop Smoke, whose 2019 single "Welcome to the Party" became a viral hit and saw remixes from Skepta and Nicki Minaj, released the deluxe edition of his Meet the Woo Vol. 2 project earlier this month featuring Gunna, Nav, and PnB Rock. He also appeared on Travis Scott's 2019 JACKBOYS comp cut "Gatti."
On Wednesday, Scott shared a clip from a song that sounds like it could be from an unreleased collaboration with Pop Smoke.
“This rapping is just another step in my life," Pop Smoke told XXL earlier this year when reflecting on his rise. "There's no telling what I might do after this. I'll probably open up a store or some shit."
Memories and tributes to Smoke started pouring in quickly, with artists like Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent, Quavo, Ludacris, Swae Lee, Questlove, Freddie Gibbs, showing love and sharing their grief.
Next month, Pop Smoke was scheduled to head out on the Meet the Woo Tour starting March 2 in Washington, D.C.