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Crime News

Houston Rapper, Activist Obe Noir Gunned Down After Being Chased By Two Mystery Assailants

Witnesses reported seeing Obe Noir running from a vehicle in the early morning hours of Monday. Two suspects in the car shot Noir, whose real name is Xavier Roberson, before fleeing, Houston police said.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Hip Hop Cold Cases of Murder

A rapper and beloved Houston activist Obe Noir was chased down and fatally shot in the street earlier this week, according to authorities.

Witnesses on the scene told police that they heard gunfire at around 3:30 a.m. on Monday before seeing the 31-year-old Noir, whose real name is Xavier Roberson, running down Fannin Street in Houston, the Houston Police Department said in a recent news release. A vehicle was observed following Roberson down the street as if pursuing him; the car then stopped and two men got out of the car and opened fire at Roberson, according to police. As Roberson fell in the street, the two suspects got back into the car and fled the scene; they were last seen turning onto San Jacinto Street.

The two suspects have yet to be named or apprehended.

Obe Noir Ig

Roberson was a well-known rapper in the Houston area and an activist who was heavily involved in the fight for justice for George Floyd, whose death during an arrest in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice. Floyd grew up in the same Houston neighborhood as Roberson and was a mentor figure, the Houston Chronicle reports. Prior to his death, Roberson was planning to launch a nonprofit organization that would help those who live in the Third Ward area of Houston, where he grew up, according to the paper.

Roberson collaborated often with other Houston-based rappers like Trae Tha Truth and Cal Wayne, both of whom posted heartfelt tributes to their fallen friend on social media following his passing.

“U aint Deserve The way they done You.... Rest Easy King,” Trae Tha Truth wrote in his Instagram tribute.  

“I never saw this for you, not like this, I maybe can accept it more for someone else, but not you. My protege, lil brother, family, my heart seriously f-ked up,” Cal Wayne wrote alongside videos and photos of Roberson.

In addition to his promising music career, Roberson was also an entrepreneur and ran his own clothing line called The Longway, described on the website as a brand launched to “inspire a positive movement within our culture.”

Roberson also had a notable career in professional sports, having played basketball for Texas Christian University and the University Of South Alabama. Following graduation, he played professional basketball overseas, at one point joining the Atenas de Córdoba basketball club in Argentina, KTRK reports. He also played for the Titanes de Barranquilla in Colombia, as well as teams in Mexico and Germany, according to the Houston Chronicle.

A GoFundMe campaign launched in his honor collected donations for the Xavier Roberson Family Fund, which will cover funeral expenses as well as estate planning. The creator of the campaign pointed to Roberson, known by some as “Zay,” as “an example of how to live and lead and love those around you.”

“He was humble, kind, driven, intelligent, and loving. He captivated every person that he encountered,” they wrote. “To know Zay was to love Zay.”

Roberson leaves behind a daughter named Dakota.

A motive in the killing has not been made public. Roberson’s loved ones said they don't know why anyone would want to kill him, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Authorities are encouraging anyone with any information on the case to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.