The gunman who killed PnB Rock at the Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles restaurant in South Los Angeles demanded jewelry and other valuables before getting into a struggle with the rapper and opening fire, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday.
Moore said the Monday attack occurred soon after the rapper was tagged online as being at the restaurant, and police are investigating whether that is what prompted the attack.
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.
He “was with his family — with his girlfriend or some kind of friend of his — and as they’re there, enjoying a simple meal, [he] was brutally attacked by an individual who apparently [came] to the location after a social media posting,” Moore said.
Police Capt. Kelly Muniz said a suspect brandished a firearm in the restaurant and demanded items from the victim. Sources told The Times that Rock was targeted for his jewelry.
Rock was shot almost immediately by the assailant during the robbery, Muniz said.
“He shot the victim and ran out the side door to a getaway car and then fled the parking lot,” she said.
Muniz said the victim was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at 1:59 p.m.
According to a law enforcement source, Los Angeles Police Department investigators are examining security video from inside the restaurant to identify the shooter. They also are checking surrounding businesses to see whether security systems captured any images of the assailant leaving on foot or in a vehicle.
Investigators were processing evidence Monday night, Muniz said. She declined to comment on what was recovered.
Rock was born Dec. 9, 1991, in Philadelphia. He told Paper magazine he was inspired to make music at age 19 after hearing Drake’s decade-defining album “Take Care.”
Rock’s ability to blend melodies with his rapping made him a natural fit for hip-hop’s next evolution. He gained national prominence with the 2015 single “Fleek,” turning the viral Vine video into an anthem for women doing up their appearance across the country. He went on to collaborate with a bevy of artists, including Ed Sheeran and Chance the Rapper on “Cross Me.”
One of his biggest moments came alongside Atlanta rapper YFN Lucci, when the two joined forces in 2016 for the victorious anthem “Everyday We Lit.” The song peaked at No. 33 on the Billboard Hot 100, the highest-charting song for either artist.
“It’s like, what do you label yourself, when you still infuse rap into your s—?” he told Paper Magazine in 2017. “People can’t say I’m a rapper, but I don’t feel like I’m a singer either. I’m not hitting super high notes and going crazy. I can’t give you Chris Brown singing. I just got good melodies.”
“Selfish” peaked at No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100. Rock released his latest song, “Luv Me Again,” on Sept. 2.
Roscoe’s issued a statement Monday expressing shock over the killing in its restaurant.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Rakim Hasheem Allen, (also known as PnB Rock), an incredible artist in Los Angeles and everywhere,” the chain said in a post on Instagram.
“His passing represents an enormous loss to each and every one of us. Our most heartfelt condolences, thoughts, and prayers go to the Allen family at this difficult time. The safety of our employees and guests are our utmost priority. We have and will continue to keep our place of business as safe as possible.”
Rock’s death comes as authorities say they are up against a rising trend of “follow home” robberies and other violent incidents.
In February 2020, Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke, whose real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson, was killed during a home invasion in the Hollywood Hills.
Authorities believe social media posts, including one of a black gift bag tagged with his address, led the assailants to his location.
The LAPD’s Southeast Community Police Station, which covers the area where Monday’s shooting occurred, has seen 34 homicides this year through Sept. 3, compared with 35 over the same period last year.
The statistics also noted a 25.2% increase in robberies during that period, from 373 to 467.
Rock spoke about prior robbery attempts in Los Angeles during a Sept. 2 episode of the podcast “Off the Record with DJ Akademiks.”
The rapper said he was out with his girlfriend and daughter on Fairfax Avenue “mid-pandemic” when people tried to rob him.
“Where I’m from, we like sneaky criminals,” Rock said. “In L.A. … they bold.”
Rock and the host spoke about how robberies targeting rappers seemed to be becoming more common.
“I never got robbed, ever in my life,” Rock said. “I ain’t gonna say never because I don’t like saying never. I’m not superstitious, but I haven’t been robbed.”
“That’s why I feel like L.A.’s spooky, man,” Akademiks said. “It’s just so bold. I’m seeing mad videos, like they don’t even do it at night. Like night maybe, but broad daylight, that’s when they really do it.”
Rock said that after his oldest brother was killed, he changed — becoming more on edge and conscious of how suddenly a situation could turn deadly.
“It’s just been something in me that just let me know, like this s— real life,” Rock said. “I done seen people die. I done been around people that died…. Anybody can die.”
Some community activists expressed shock over the killing.
“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 L.A.
He said 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.”