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Saturday January 28th, 2023 6:33PM

Migos rapper Takeoff dead after Houston shooting, rep says

By The Associated Press
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HOUSTON (AP) — Police are looking for witnesses and video that will help them identify the people who opened fire outside a Houston bowling alley Tuesday, wounding two people and killing the 28-year-old rapper Takeoff, a member of the Grammy-nominated trio Migos.

Kirsnick Khari Ball — who was one third of the group along with Quavo and Offset — was shot around 2:30 a.m. after an argument broke out among a group of 40 people who were leaving a private party at the bowling alley, Houston police said.

Police Chief Troy Finner said Takeoff was “well respected" and that investigators are looking for any information that will help them identify the shooters. He said most people fled after the gunfire began and asked anyone who knows or has video of what happened to come forward.

“I have no reason to believe he was involved in anything criminal at the time,” Finner said of Takeoff. He said that at least two people discharged firearms and that the two other people who were struck have injuries that are not life-threatening. They were taken to hospitals in private vehicles.

Police responded to reports of a shooting at 810 Billiards & Bowling, which is in a three-story downtown Houston retail complex that includes high-end restaurants, a House of Blues and is near a Four Seasons hotel. Takeoff was pronounced dead at the scene. An AP reporter observed a body loaded into a medical examiner’s van around 10 a.m., more than seven hours after the shooting.

Security guards who were in the area heard the shooting but did not see who did it, a police spokesperson said.

Media members at the scene later Tuesday morning were being kept across the street, which was otherwise blocked off to the public, and 810 Billiards & Bowling's management did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Several fans gathered across the street from the bowling alley. Isaiah Lopez, 24, said he rushed down from his home in the Houston suburb of Humble after hearing Takeoff had been killed.

“He was one of our favorites, mine and my brother’s. It’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, ‘Takeoff is gone,’ I had to come over here and pay my respects.”

Thomas Moreno, 30, lives about five minutes from the site of the shooting. He said he had met Takeoff at an event at a Houston bar and restaurant in June and called him “a real nice guy.”

“I feel it’s just another good person gone too soon,” Moreno said. “This happens every day but it hurts even more when it’s somebody so talented and so young.”

Takeoff was the youngest member of Migos, the rap trio from suburban Atlanta that also featured his uncle Quavo and cousin Offset. They first broke through with the massive hit “Versace” in 2013.

The group had four Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, though Takeoff was not on their multi-week No. 1 hit “Bad and Boujee,” featuring Lil Uzi Vert. They put out a trilogy of albums called “Culture,” “Culture II” and “Culture III,” with the first two albums hitting No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. They also earned an ASCAP Vanguard Award in 2018, for their streaming success with multiplatinum songs like “Motorsport (featuring Cardi B and Nicki Minaj),” “Stir Fry,” and “Walk It Talk It.”

The trio also played a fictional version of themselves on an episode of the hit TV show “Atlanta,” but the group was not currently together.

Offset, who is married to Cardi B, released a solo album in 2019, while Takeoff and Quavo released a joint album “Only Built for Infinity Links” last month. Quavo posted links Monday on his Instagram to his and Takeoff's Halloween-themed music video, “Messy,” along with a video of him and his friends driving around Houston.

___

Landrum reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writer Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed to this report.

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