The killing of on-the-rise rapper Jimmy Wopo has led to investigations into whether he was tied to two unsolved homicides.
Investigators are examining whether Wopo, 21, was involved in two shootings before he was gunned down Monday, according to KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh.
An unnamed police source called Wopo a "Hill District terror," referencing the area of Pittsburgh where he lived and died. Another police source said cops are planning to talk to witnesses who were afraid of the rapper.
"We hope they will cooperate," the source told KDKA. "We hope we can now clear a few cases, now that he's dead."
The police had no official comment about any investigations involving Wopo. No suspects or arrests have been announced for his death.
"The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is thoroughly investigating this homicide, as we do all homicides in the city," the department said in a statement. "The investigation is active and ongoing."
In the days after his death, two opposing pictures of the young rapper are emerging: A loyal friend and community advocate who was also an intimidating figure drawing police suscpicion. He was a successful artist who often rapped about the violent street life in his Pittsburgh neighborhood.
At the time of his death, he was reportedly about to sign a contract with Taylor Gang Entertainment, a label started by Wiz Khalifa, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
His attorney Owen Seman said he was on the phone with Wopo discussing the potential deal just 15 minutes before the fatal shooting. He described the young rapper as kind and hard-working and told KDKA-TV any allegations that Wopo was involved in shootings are ridiculous and said Wopo was no longer part of the "thug life."
Others who knew the rapper described him as a person who cared deeply about his community and gave back to the youth in the area.
"I lost my brother. It's just really tough because he had so much planned," Wopo's manager Taylor Maglin told Pittsburgh's Action 4 News.
Wopo had previously found himself in legal trouble. The rapper was convicted twice of drug charges and had been shot twice as teen.
The rapper told VladTV last year that after he got shot the second time at 18, his perspective changed, largely in part to having more positive influences in his life.
"The first time I got shot I was more eager to get back at what happened to me," he said. "The second time, I had much more s--- on the line. I had a daughter."
He also said he had given up dealing drugs after several run-ins with the law and advice from his mom.
"She just told me like if you keep getting caught out there you are not good at it. If it is just something you kept getting caught at, stop doing it, do something different. You've got to," he told VladTV.
But just this week, an unidentified man who works as a jitney driver told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Wopo was "violent in the street life," and referenced his troubled past.
The driver reported hearing the shots that ultimately killed the rapper outside his office Monday afternoon.
“If I knew it was him, I’d have run out to the car,” he told the paper.
Wopo had been gaining recognition outside the Pittsburgh area. His video for "Elm Street," one of his biggest hits, has received more than 6.7 million views on YouTube.
Wopo was killed Monday afternoon while sitting in a 2007 Mazda CX7. A second unidentified person in the vehicle was also injured in the attack but had been listed in stable condition.
Wopo is survived by his parents, two children and a third child on the way.
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