The fatal shooting that claimed the life of beloved hip-hop artist and community altruist Nipsey Hussle additionally threatened that of two others who were wounded from the gunman’s attack: Kerry Lathan and his nephew.
In his first interview since the deadly shooting, Lathan spoke with VladTV about the events that unfolded before the incident, several misguided reports about his relationship with Nipsey and his arrest after the shooting. Lathan, who recently finished out a 25-year murder conviction, was initially alleged to be one of the Victory Lap icon’s associates. But according to his recollection of the events, it was only that fateful day that he’d have a first encounter with Nipsey, which, devastatingly, also became his last.
Despite being wounded himself and even wheelchair-bound, Lathan said that law enforcement first told him he was being arrested for a parole violation. Now, Lathan said, he’s told his charge stems from being an eyewitness to the shooting and affiliating with Nipsey, who was part of the Crips Rollin 60s gang. “Y’all release me then wanna put me back in prison for coming in contact with a gang member?” he said in the phone interview. Unfortunately, Lathan also said he’s not doing well under the care of the prison either, and has been deprived of pain medications while also treating him differently than the other inmates.
He was originally convicted in 1994 around the age of 31 or 32, he explained to Vlad, which would place Nipsey at around 7 to 8 years old when he was first sentenced. Lathan was slammed with 26 years to life and ended up serving about 25 (he said the additional 26th year was added because he carried out the murder with a knife). Thus, he knew nothing of Nipsey during this time period. The only tie between him and the late rap star was someone who’s widely known around L.A.’s street and Hollywood circle, Big U. In fact, he added, he was only around Nipsey that day for a selfie as a keepsake. "I took a selfie with him because that's a celebrity,” he said. “Everyone was taking pictures with him."
Lathan explained that he and his nephew were heading to console someone’s parents who recently lost a loved one before making a quick pit stop at the Marathon Clothing Store, where the shooting unfolded. His nephew, who was the third shooting victim in the incident, urged him to change his dingy shirt since they were right in the vicinity of Nipsey’s store with the 33-year-old also standing right outside of it, which his nephew pointed out. The shirt Lathan wanted was out of stock though, and when Lathan asked Nipsey about it, he responded, “That’ll be about a week, bro.” Afterward, he said, things took a turn for the worse. “And when I said it, it was all bad," he said. "The gunman turned around the car and shot me, shot Nipsey, and then shot my nephew."
Lathan said he fell on his stomach and could only see the feet of people running away from the scene—another reason he’s confused about police’s allegation of him as an “eyewitness.”
“So they got it wrong talking about me being an eyewitness,” he said.
Currently, Lathan is being represented by attorney Lauren Noriega and has reached out to Nipsey’s fans with a GoFundMe account for aid in medical bills, legal assistance, and ultimately, earning back his freedom.
Hear his full account below:
(Photo: Prince Williams/Wireimage)