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Crime News Murders

Three Rappers Each Shot Multiple Times As Michigan State Police Investigate Motive For Homicides

The bodies were found frozen in the basement of an abandoned apartment complex after weeks of searching for the missing men, last seen on Jan. 21.

By Caitlin Schunn
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

Three missing aspiring rappers found dead in an abandoned Michigan apartment complex last week were each shot multiple times, in what state police are describing as a targeted attack.

The bodies of Armani Kelly, 27, Montoya Givens, 31, and Dante Wicker, 31, were identified by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office on Friday afternoon, Michigan State police said. 

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The three victims were found in the basement of an abandoned apartment complex on Thursday — near McNichols Road and Log Cabin St. in Highland Park — about eight miles outside of Detroit. State police said the bodies were in frozen conditions due to the weather, and added that the men were killed on the second floor of the apartment and dragged to the basement.

“The investigation is continuing, and detectives are making progress and we believe we may have determined a motive,” state police said in a tweet on Tuesday, but did not share what that motive may be. Police also tweeted the shooting was “not a random incident.”

Montoya Givens, Armani Kelly and Dante Wicker

The search for the three men began after they were scheduled to perform at Lounge 31 in Detroit on Jan. 21, but the event was abruptly canceled, according to previous Oxygen.com reporting. Kelly told his fiancée the gig was canceled for an equipment issue, so he planned to hang out with others and look for open mic events, but then he stopped responding to texts, calls and Facebook messages after 7:30 p.m., according to the Detroit News. Police said Kelly had picked up Wicker and Givens on the way to the gig before it was canceled. Detroit Police Chief James White said all three of the men’s cellphones were turned off around the same time that night, according to CBS News.

Kelly’s mother reported her son missing on Jan. 23 and was able to use OnStar to track his car to Warren, where it was found that day, according to Detroit Fox station WJBK. A 15-year-old boy was arrested for having Kelly’s vehicle, according to NBC News.

“There was no blood or anything of a nature that would lead us to believe they were either transported or murdered in that particular vehicle,” Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer told NBC News.

Police said the vehicle had been moved a few times before they found it. The teen was charged with possession of burglary tools and concealing and receiving a stolen car, but police have not called him a person of interest in the murders, according to WJBK.

Police said the teenager told them a man had told him to pick up the car on Schoolcraft Road on Detroit’s west side, according to the Detroit News. Police got a warrant to search the man’s house, and he was taken into custody for questioning. Officers looked at video from Project Green Light locations in Detroit and found a video of the man wearing gloves and cleaning out Kelly’s car.

Kelly’s fiancée told the Detroit News all three men had met in prison. In separate cases, Kelly and Wicker were convicted of armed robbery, while Givens was convicted of carjacking.

Givens’ mother, Catina Fogle, told Detroit NBC station WDIV she didn’t know why her son would be targeted — and he was getting his life back on track after prison.

“I feel numb right now. I feel very numb. And It’s sad that people is judging these boys for crimes they have already committed,” Fogle told WDIV. “What everybody is saying — it’s gang related — I don’t know if it’s gang related or not. I’m just taking precautions to protect my family."

Anyone with information that can help the investigation can contact 1-800-SPEAK.UP OR 1-855-MICH.TIP.

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