An Atlanta man was charged on Wednesday (May 20) in connection with the murder of rapper Dolla, according to a statement released by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.
Aubrey Louis Berry was set to be arraigned in court later Wednesday, where he will answer to two counts of assault with a firearm and one count of murder. Berry, 23, allegedly encountered Dolla (Roderick Burton) in the Beverly Center in Los Angeles and, after a dispute, fatally shot the rapper.
In addition to shooting Burton, 21, Berry's charges stem from allegedly firing at two other people who were present at the time of the altercation.
According to the statement, the shooting took place around 3:00 p.m. on Monday in the parking garage of the popular mall, where Dolla was standing near the entrance. According to the Los Angeles Times, witnesses said four to five shots rang out at the normally quiet shopping center. The rapper, who had come to the mall to shop, according to the report, was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.
Berry reportedly fled the crime scene in a Mercedes SUV and was arrested by police later at the airport. When authorities confronted Berry at the Los Angeles International Airport, he allegedly had a gun with him. At press time, Berry's intended destination was unclear.
Berry is being held on $1.1 million bail. If convicted, he faces a maximum of life in prison with the possibility of parole, according to the statement.
Dolla's family released a statement Wednesday announcing memorial services and disputing some information that has appeared online in connection with the murder, although a spokesperson for the family declined to provide details.
The Los Angeles Times, citing anonymous police sources, reported the shooting may have stemmed from a dispute on May 13 at Atlanta nightclub Platinum 21 Adult Entertainment, but club employee Joseph Green disputed that information to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"I know there wasn't [a fight] May 13," Green said, "but there may have been one the week before."
Dolla's stepfather, George Viera, spoke with the AJC about the murder.
"As far as we know [Dolla] had no idea it was coming," he told the paper, adding that Dolla had been shot in the back. "The bullet pierced his heart."
He also said that to his family, Dolla was not a stereotypical gangsta rapper. "It was a character he played," he said. "To us he was just Roddy. When he was home, you couldn't pry him away. Loved to play with his nieces and nephews, loved to play on the Wii."
"He wanted to go to theology school," Viera continued. "He was very interested in religion. People think rapper, they think hard, but he wasn't that way."
Sean "Diddy" Combs, for whom Dolla had modeled Sean John clothing, sent condolences on Twitter.
"RIP Dolla," he wrote. "God bless his family! He was a good kid! You will be missed player. Don't take life for granted people!"
Dolla was an up-and-coming rapper signed to Akon's production company, and had success with his T-Pain-assisted track "Who the F--- Is That." The was working on his debut album, Dolla & A Dream, — with reported contributions from Chris Brown, Polow Da Don, Jazze Pha and T-Pain — although it was unclear at press time whether the album had been completed.
[This story was originally published at 5:50 pm E.T. on 5.20.09]