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Lawyer: Police think slaying of XXXTentacion was random

Lawyer: Police think slaying of XXXTentacion was random
The Associated Press

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The lawyer for slain rapper XXXTentacion said Tuesday that detectives believe he was fatally shot in a random robbery while likely planning to buy a motorcycle at an upscale shop near a low-income neighborhood in South Florida.

Attorney David Bogenschutz said investigators also told him the 20-year-old rapper, who pronounced his stage name “Ex Ex Ex ten-ta-see-YAWN,” had visited a bank shortly before the shooting and possibly withdrew cash for the purchase.

No arrests have been made in Monday’s shooting at Riva Motosports in Deerfield Beach.

XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was exiting the shop’s parking lot in his luxury BMW electric car when he was shot. The Broward Sheriff’s Office says deputies are searching for two suspects who fled in a dark SUV.

On Tuesday morning, workers continued building a 6-foot (2-meter) wall around the property of the newly built home where XXXTentacion lived in Parkland, the same suburb of Fort Lauderdale where a gunman fatally shot 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

Family members and friends were in the house’s yard but declined to comment.

Candles, a teddy bear and a large, signed sympathy card lined the front porch of the 5,957-square-foot (553-square-meter) home, which was purchased late last year for $1.4 million. Property records list the owners as Cleopatra Bernard, the singer’s mother. Her name was tattooed across his chest.

Riva Motorsports is an upscale seller of motorcycles, boats, all-terrain vehicles and scooters off a main highway, next to railroad tracks and a neighborhood of tract homes.

On Tuesday afternoon a steady stream of fans had placed candles, flowers and teddy bears on the sidewalk near where he was shot, and decorated 100 yards of sidewalk with chalk art including messages of sympathy and loss such as “Feel for you XXX” and “4evr Young.”

Myles O’Hara, 17, and Aaron Gavin, 20, sat on the curb, solemnly staring at the ground, mostly ignoring the people who moved past. They said they admired XXXTentacion because he was a local kid who rose from rough circumstances and was making a positive contribution.

“He had some legal allegations before, but the last year he had only been a positive influence on people’s lives, making hit Billboard songs,” O’Hara said. “He has been a kind person. You could look at his face and smile and he was just a normal kid like us … His style is almost hard to explain. He had an angry tone. He meant everything he said, even the most simplistic words. It just came off his tongue like nothing. He was speaking his mind.”

Gavin said unlike other rappers whose songs emphasize buying expensive merchandise, he said XXXTentacion rapped about his emotions.

“X talked about how he felt instead of materialistic things like owning this car, this car, this house, this house,” Gavin said.

Brandon Lang, a 29-year-old magazine owner, said XXXTentacion may have had an angry persona in his performance, but in reality he “did good things,” pointing out that he had come home to perform in an upcoming charity show.

“He had all these mistakes that could have wound up defining him but he didn’t let that happen,” Lang said. “That is why he is connecting to all these kids because these kids are going through a really sad time, a sad world. He taught them how to cope.”

The entertainer, who sported dreadlocks and facial tattoos, was a rising star. He notched a No. 1 album in March with his sophomore effort “?” and had a top 10 hit with “Sad!” but was facing trial on charges that he beat up his pregnant girlfriend.

His brief career was marked by controversy. In 2016, he was arrested on charges including home invasion for a 2015 incident, and less than a month later was jailed on charges that he attacked his girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time. Later, he faced more charges including witness tampering.

In an interview this month with the Miami New Times, XXXTentacion described his upbringing, which included seeing his mother infrequently and being raised by friends, family and baby-sitters. His mother bought him clothes, phones and other gifts. He said he used violence so she would engage with him.

In one video on social media, he said: “If worse things come to worse, I (expletive) die a tragic death or some (expletive), and I’m not able to see out my dreams, I at least want to know that the kids perceive my message and were able to make something of themselves.”

He continued later: “I appreciate and love all of you and I believe in you all; do not let your depression make you, do not let your body define your soul, let your soul define your body. Your mind is limitless … you are worth more than you can believe.”

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