Police chief, mayor speak at news conference
The Houston Police Department held a news conference to provide updates about the shooting shortly after 3 p.m. Live and recorded feeds of the official update were available on Twitter and Facebook.
Police Chief Troy Finner led the news conference, answering most of the questions posed by reporters, although he declined to answer a few. Authorities believe there were at least two shooters who opened fire outside the bowling alley, Finner revealed, but he said he did not know whether Takeoff or Quavo were the shooters’ intended targets.
“This great city … We will find who’s responsible for it,” Finner said. “Somebody knows exactly who it was and I’m really confident someone will speak up.”
Although Houston police spent Tuesday searching for more information about those responsible for Takeoff’s death, Finner did not provide a physical description of the shooters.
The two other victims were a 23-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, Finner said. The pair had injuries that were not considered life-threatening but officials did not say where or how many times they had been shot. Authorities did not provide updates on their conditions Tuesday.
Medical examiners move a body from the third floor outside of 1201 San Jacinto on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.
Takeoff described as ‘peaceful’
Finner cited the ongoing investigation as he declined to address social media posts speculating whether Takeoff had played a role in any conflict prior to the shooting, or whether he had been caught in the crossfire. He said Takeoff did not appear to have been involved in any illegal activity before his death and Finner said Takeoff was universally described during the investigation as a “peaceful, loving, great entertainer.”
“Based on what people say about him, he’s well respected, nonviolent,” Finner said. “I would not expect him to be involved. But I do want to wait on the investigation.”
But Finner was less confident when asked about the motivation of the two or more shooters.
Asked whether Takeoff may have been intentionally targeted, Finner said: “I don’t want to speculate. I’m not comfortable saying that, not at this time.”
Takeoff had been at a private party the night of his death, but authorities did not provide additional information about who hosted the party. The shooting took place outside after the party had ended, officials said.
It is important people don’t blame the hip-hop community, Finner explained.
“Sometimes the hip-hop community gets a bad name,” he said. “There are a lot of great people in our hip-hop community. And I respect them.”
Finner said he had spoken to Takeoff’s mother, who had flown into Houston after receiving the news of his death. Finner closed the news conference by urging community members to “Pray for that family.”
Turner also urged patience and empathy.
“It doesn’t matter how famous you are, you may not be famous at all, anybody who loses his or her life is a life lost,” Turner said. “And there are family members and friends who are grieving as a result.”
Despite shooting, Houston homicide rate down
The fatal shooting again casts the spotlight of public attention on the central issues of crime and public safety in Houston — a major issue for voters ahead of the Nov. 8 elections. Although Houston’s murder rate spiked in the aftermath of the pandemic, it continues to lag behind that of many other large cities, including New Orleans, St. Louis and Baltimore, and the rate began to recede this year. There have been 370 homicides in Houston so far this year, down 11% from this time last year, when the city had 415 homicides, according to data collected by the Chronicle.
Each major category of violent crime — murder, rape, robbery and assault — has declined countywide through the first half of 2022 compared to the same point last year, according to data from the Department of Public Safety.
Fans, other artists mourn Takeoff
Just after 7 a.m., fans sat on the ground in the rain outside the venue, watching authorities and the medical examiner survey the scene. Two people held red roses, after finding no place to set them.
“I listen to their music all the time,” said Isaiah Lopez, 24, a Houston native. He’d stopped at a store along the way and grabbed the first bouquet of flowers he saw. “Me and my brother Christian, that’s our favorite group right there.”
Thomas Moreno, a 30-year-old who lives five minutes from the bowling alley, said Takeoff was his favorite group member, “because of how low-key he was.”
Randy Tullos, 22, has followed Migos since middle school. He stood at the scene for more than two hours before Takeoff’s body eventually was moved out of the building.
“Takeoff was by far the most humble, the most low-key, and the most genuine out of the group,” he said.
Politicians, celebrities and others in the music industry have tweeted their condolences.
Takeoff left ‘undeniable’ mark on rap industry
Houston rapper Calico Tha Beast called Takeoff’s death “tragic and disheartening,” the Houston Chronicle’s Joey Guerra reports.
“He and Migos have already left their mark on the industry. Love them or hate them, their influence on the younger generation is undeniable,” Calico said.
The trio released “Bad and Boujee” in 2016, which topped the Billboard Hot 100.
Takeoff of Migos performs at Summer Jam 2019 at MetLife Stadium on June 2, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Houston mayor: Somebody knows the killer
Dozens of people — possible witnesses — attended the private party, police said Tuesday, as they called on anyone with video footage or information to come forward.
Finner said at least 40 people were at the party and he pleaded with them to come forward and speak with investigators.
“I don’t want to judge them at this moment right now,” Kinner said at the news conference. “I want to call them to action.”
Sgt. Michael Arrington asked media outlets to forward their tips to the police.
“We’re looking for any information at this time, any videos, any, any information,” Arrington said. “We do know that the media has received a lot of phone calls, text messages, Twitter tweets, videos. We need all of y’all to send those to us so we can solve this case.”
Turner, the mayor, said given the high-profile nature of the event, someone has to know who fired the shots.
“This was a private event last night with about 40 people in that group,” Turner said. “Somebody and some people know who the actual shooter or shooters were.”
Jas Prince rep: Rapper was not present
Houston police officers responded to the shooting at 810 Bowling & Billiards, 1201 San Jacinto, where the private event was being held, said Sgt. Michael Arrington from the Houston Police Department. Officials said dozens of people had gathered on a balcony outside of the bowling alley, which is on the third floor. Arrington said that’s where officers located Takeoff’s body, as well as multiple shell casings.
Despite posts to the contrary circulating on social media — and at least one news outlet reporting the gathering had been a birthday party for rapper Jas Prince — a media consultant with The Maven Firm, which represents Jas Prince, said the venue was not reserved by Jas Prince, nor was the event held in his honor.
“Jas Prince was not present or in the vicinity of this unfortunate tragedy,” consultant Vivian Gomez said in an email to the Chronicle. He did not host a party on Halloween, she added.
Migos fan Isaiah Lopez arrives at the scene where Migos star Takeoff was reportedly shot and killed on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022. Lopez and his brother shared a love for the music and he took off work to visit the scene.
Dozens gathered on bowling alley’s third floor
The party at the bowling alley reportedly ended at 1 a.m. and most of the 40 to 50 attendees had left the building by the time someone pulled a gun and started firing around 2 a.m., according to Arrington, who works in the homicide unit.
Security guards were in the area and some people heard gunfire around 2:35 a.m., but no one saw who fired the shots, said Lt. Ronnie Wilkins of the Houston Police Department.
“A lot of folks were there,” he said. “They were in front of the bar. The bar was closed at the time, but people were congregating out on the balcony area. Everybody fled.”
A video obtained by TMZ shows a scene of chaos, with one person yelling to call an ambulance and several others hunched over the body. In another video, tweeted by the account @gotcitytea at 4:57 a.m., someone shouts “no” in the background as others tell their friends to go inside.
Houston police had not officially released the name of the person who died Tuesday, saying only the victim was a Black man in his late 20s. Takeoff was first identified by TMZ and a Migos representative later confirmed Takeoff’s death to the Associated Press.
2 wounded people driven to nearby hospital
The two people who were wounded at the event were driven to a nearby hospital in a private vehicle, Arrington said, where both had been undergoing surgery following the shooting.
Along with Quavo and Takeoff from Migos, there were other musicians at the party, Arrington said, but he could not confirm whether any of them had been involved in the shooting.
Anyone with information about the shooting can leave a tip anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Authorities are investigating the shooting as a homicide case and officers will continue to review any surveillance video they locate.
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