"It all happened in less than three minutes.”
One of the men who was injured in the shooting that killed Nipsey Hussle has spoken out after the incident landed him back in jail.
Kerry Lathan, 56, was hospitalised after the rapper was shot dead outside his clothing store in Los Angeles last month. He was released from jail on previous murder charges in 2018, but says he is behind bars once more after his meeting with Nipsey on the day of the shooting was deemed to be a parole violation. The late rapper had extensive links with the Rollin’ 60s set of the Crips street gang in South L.A.
In a new interview with YouTube channel VladTV, Lathan says that his links to the late rapper were exaggerated and he stopped by Nipsey’s Marathon clothing store to buy a fresh white shirt before meeting a friend whose father had died.
- READ MORE: Nipsey Hussle, 1985-2019: a musician who gave a voice to the voiceless and changed the face of indie rap
“When I go in there, they didn’t have the white [shirts] that I wanted,” he explained.
“I said, ‘When y’all gon’ get that in again?’ He said, ‘Well, there go Nipsey in the lot. Go talk to him.’ And I talked to him. He said, ‘That’ll be about a week, bro.’ I said, ‘OK.’ And when I said it, it was all bad.”
Describing the moment of the fateful shooting, he explained: “The gunman turned around the car and shot me, then shot Nipsey, and then shot my nephew. I didn’t know what was going on… I fell on my stomach. All I could see was people’s feet. I couldn’t see nothing else. I said so they got it wrong if they talking about me being an eyewitness.
“What was I supposed to do? When I see a gun, I turn around and run. I don’t stop and take a selfie of the gunman… It all happened in less than three minutes.”
Detailing his injuries, he added: “I got hit close to the spine. And they said it chipped a part of my pelvis. So, it’s very difficult for me to walk… I’m in a wheelchair as we speak.”
Lathan has also maintained his innocence in the parole violation charge and doubled down on his claim that he was buying a white shirt. He was taken straight to Los Angeles’ Men’s Central Jail after recovering in hospital.
“When I get [to Men’s Central Jail], they say, ‘You’re here for [a] parole violation.’ I said, ‘For what?’ ‘Well, coming into contact with a known gang member.’ I said, ‘Man, I didn’t come into contact with nobody. I was visiting some people, going to pay respects to a person’s father who just passed away.’
“My buddy Ronnie, his father just died that Sunday. So, that’s all I was doing. And I was just gonna change my shirt so I could look presentable in front of they people. That’s it. And when I stopped over there with Nip, I got shot.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, community activists are launching renewed efforts to secure Lathan’s freedom.
On April 4, a suspect was charged in Hussle’s killing. Eric Holder, 29, is now facing life in prison after prosecutors charged him with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
A memorial service to the rapper was held last week – with Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and Barack Obama all paying tribute to the late star.