Rapper Nipsey Hussle’s big brother spent his final moments with him pumping his chest to drive air into his lungs on a South Los Angeles sidewalk. They were surrounded by a circle of stunned neighbors, blood stains beneath them.
A paramedic from the ambulance would later tell Samiel Asghedom about his 33-year-old brother outside the hospital: “I know who he is. I’m a fan. I respect what he was doing in the community. We tried our hardest.”
Asghedom recounted his last heartbreaking moments with his little brother — whom he called “Nip” or “Nips” — to the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Thursday.
He told the Times that he jumped in his car and sped down Slauson Avenue from his grandmother’s house when he got a call Sunday afternoon about the shooting. He arrived outside Hussle’s Marathon Clothing store in the Hyde Park neighborhood to find Nips still breathing. But Asghedom could see a bullet entry wound in his leg and blood on the front of his shirt. He would later see the wound in the back of his brother’s head.
Police say Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, was shot multiple times in an attack captured on surveillance video. Aspiring rapper Eric Holder, 29, pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder charges in the shooting.
Samiel followed instructions from a 911 operator on the phone and pushed down on his brother’s chest to pump air into his lungs, he told the Times. An ambulance arrived to rush Hussle to the hospital. When Samiel arrived at the hospital, it was over.
Hussle, a father of two who was in a relationship with actress Lauren London, was trying to turn around his South Los Angeles neighborhood. The Grammy nominee had invested in the strip mall where his clothing store was located and had been planning to develop a museum and cultural center in the area. A meeting with police had been scheduled the day after his death to discuss how to address gun violence.
“He made something work in an area that was run-down, that people were scared to come to, and he turned it into a landmark,” his brother told the Times. “All races. Different states. Many countries. They all come to Crenshaw and Slauson. He was truly the people’s champ.”
The Los Angeles Lakers honored Hussle during their game Thursday.
It “doesn’t make sense that somebody from the area, that just snuck up and just talked to him and shook his hand minutes before,” Asghedom said. “It’s mind-boggling.”
The man was “able to shoot my brother, start running, realize nobody out there had a gun, stop, turn back around, walk up, shoot my brother two more times ... ran back up and shot my brother three more times,” he added.
“If somebody would’ve been there — if I would’ve been there — I would’ve shot back,” he said. “I just wish I would’ve been there.”