LOS ANGELES — Jewelry and other items stolen from rapper PnB Rock, who was shot and killed Monday at Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles in South L.A., could hold the key to finding the gunman.
Los Angeles Police Department detectives have put pawn shops on alert about items stolen during the brazen robbery in hopes it may help identity the killer.
PnB Rock was fatally shot by a man who demanded jewelry and other valuables before getting into a struggle with the rapper and opening fire, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.
Moore said the attack occurred soon after the rapper was tagged online Monday as being at the restaurant at West Manchester Avenue and South Main Street, and police are investigating whether that is what prompted the attack. Police say such crimes linked to social media are rare. But Moore said he’s concerned about the proliferation of guns on the streets being used by robbers targeting victims for high-end jewelry.
Rock, 30, whose real name was Rakim Allen, had been at the restaurant with his girlfriend, who had posted a location-tagged photo in a since-deleted Instagram post. The shooting has reignited discussion of the dangers of the real-time use of social media by celebrities who post about their locations and luxury possessions.
The killing sparked sadness and outrage among fans as well as community activists, who say violence at a popular eatery is unacceptable.
“I want to see the community heal. There has to be a more comprehensive strategy to make it clear that taking material items like an expensive watch is not worth more than a life,” said Skipp Townsend, a longtime gang interventionist in Los Angeles.
He pointed out the gunman could have killed so many people in the lunch crowd.
“This happened while he was actually dining, and that is truly tragic,” Townsend said. “Arrests don’t stop the violence. Arrests don’t bring closure to families. We need to do a long-term strategy that prevents someone considering such acts.”
Andre “Low Down” Christian, a gang interventionist with Urban Peace Institute, said he and others were trying to sort out rumors about what precipitated Monday’s shooting.
He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Rock had drawn the wrong kind of attention through social media. But it’s just as likely someone saw him going into Roscoe’s and decided to rob him.
If nothing else, the slaying is a reminder that “people just have to be aware of their surroundings,” Christian said.
“While you’re looking at just trying to get some clout, people are looking at it as an opportunity,” he said. “It shouldn’t have to be like that, but that’s the way it works.”
(Los Angeles Times staff writer Libor Jany contributed to this report.)