It’s fair to say that the fatal shooting of the young American rapper XXXTentacion in the parking lot of a South Florida motorsports shop on Monday has attracted huge media attention and sparked a debate over the way that talented individuals who lived violent lifestyles should be remembered.
But behind all of the headlines about XXXTentacion’s behavior and reputation, it must be remembered that there are family and friends who are undoubtedly desperate for answers and keen to see justice served. Now, three days after his death, it looks like that process might be beginning to take shape.
It has emerged that police have arrested a 22-year-old man in connection with the rapper’s murder, which took place at Riva Motorsports in Deerfield Beach on Monday.
According to TMZ, the suspect is a man named Dedrick D. Williams, who is now being held without bail. He is, apparently, already in violation of his probation for a grand theft conviction and has 11 felony convictions. He has previously been arrested for cocaine possession, weapons possession, domestic violence and aggravated assault with a firearm.
According to police, Williams was detained in Pompano Beach, Florida, just before 7pm on Wednesday, June 20. Although it has not been said what led to Williams becoming a suspect, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said earlier in the week that their officers were searching for two suspects who fled in a dark SUV.
The confirmation comes after a video emerged, purportedly showing the mother of XXXTentacion – whose real name was Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy – saying: “I just got the text just now, from one of the detectives […] they just arrested them, they got them.”
Since the death of the rapper, various theories have been put forward as to the possible motives behind the killing. Earlier in the week, two Florida-based rappers, known as Soldier Kidd and Soldier JoJo, spoke out to publicly deny they were behind the murder. Some social media users had claimed that photographs and videos that they had posted online, which may have been recorded close to the scene, contained references to the crime. One clip, in particular, showed the duo posing in a car with a red mask – a detail that was reportedly mentioned in a 911 dispatch.
In another particularly bizarre theory, some have claimed that XXXTentacion is actually still alive, with the rapper having faked his death as part of a PR stunt; he had previously been part of a suicide prank and then released a video to prove he was still alive. A number of fans have argued that in a video claiming to show him after his death, there are a number of discrepancies, including in his facial tattoos and a lack of visible blood.
Conspiracy Theorists Believe XXXTentacion Is Not Dead:
According to lawyers of the American rapper, who was just 20 years old when he died, it’s possible that the true reasons behind his death may be much more simple. In fact, they believe that his death may have been the result of a random robbery gone wrong.
His attorney, David Bogenschutz, stated that investigators had disclosed to him that the rapper had visited a bank shortly before the fatal shooting, and it is believed that he withdrew cash with the intention of buying a motorbike. However, he was shot dead in his car before he had the chance. TMZ has also reported that a Louis Vuitton bag that was in the vehicle is believed to have been stolen and is yet to be recovered.
In the days since the killing, makeshift shrines have been erected in his honor and an impromptu vigil has taken place. Unfortunately, some members of the crowd became aggravated and the memorial turned violent, leading police to disperse the crowds.
Born in Florida in 1998, XXXTentacion had a difficult childhood, spending long spells living away from his mother who has been described as “uninterested” in raising him but would return every so often to shower him with gifts. He found himself displaying in violent behavior from a young age, something he later described as motivated by his desire for his mother to notice him, saying: “I used to beat kids at school just to get her to talk to me, yell at me.”
XXXTentacion was known to have previously been in trouble with the law, having been charged with drug possession, served time for gun possession and recently pleaded no contest to charges of home invasion robbery and aggravated battery with a firearm. At the time of his death, he was awaiting trial for charges of aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and domestic battery by strangulation, having attacked his pregnant partner with such ferocity that it reportedly damaged her sight.
At the same time, he also enjoyed a successful career, with rap icon Kanye West tweeting after his death: “Rest in peace I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing.” His music videos have achieved millions of views on YouTube, with his single “SAD!” racking up 173 million views and over 270 million streams on Spotify. He was also described as one of rap’s most influential “Freshman” rappers.
His death also prompted an outpouring of tributes, not only from fans and those involved in the rap industry but also from a handful of more unexpected sources. British journalist Louis Theroux, perhaps not the most obvious rap lover, tweeted: “Notwithstanding personal demons, he was a huge talent & bringing a beautiful new feel to hip hop. So sad.” Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker said that he was “at a loss for words.”
To hear XXXTentacion’s hit single ‘SAD!”, check out the video below:
Whatever the motivation for XXXTentacion’s death turns out to be, whether it’s a robbery gone wrong or something more intentional, it’s almost certain that the debate over how he should be remembered will continue to rage.