Man Who Was Shot Alongside Nipsey Hussle and Then Arrested Speaks Out for the First Time
One of the victims shot alongside Nipsey Hussle last month is speaking out about the fatal incident.
Kerry Lathan remains in a wheelchair with a bullet in his back after he was shot alongside the rapper and another man outside Hussle’s Marathon Clothing Company store in Los Angeles on March 31, KCAL 9 reports.
The bullet will stay in his back for life as doctors fear he will have to remain in a wheelchair permanently if they try to remove it.
“I have a bullet in my back. Fragment in it broke off near my spine. They say if we take it out, there’s a possibility you could be paralyzed,” Lathan told KCAL.
Lathan, however, has spent most of his recovery time behind bars, as the fact he was with Hussle that day was a violation of his parole. The injured 56-year-old had been on parole for 7 months, after serving a 25-year prison sentence for murder.
Hussle had gang ties and Lathan’s parole strictly forbid him from being around any gang members. Lathan argues that rapper was an anti-crime advocate who was just trying to help him out and give him some clothing on that terrible day on March 31.
“He told me that he would have the shirt that I needed next week and I said okay,” he recalled to KCAL. “And as I turned it was all bad.”
“I didn’t have no idea of any of that. I know they said [Hussle] was a Rolling 60s. That’s not what he is today,” he explained. “He’s a celebrity. I took a picture with a celebrity. I met him once, took a selfie.”
Lathan told HuffPost that Hussle had left his gang days behind him and turned a new leaf — and it was this that lead to the parole violation against Lathan to be dropped and his release last weekend.
“If you say a person has made a change, or a metamorphosis, you can’t take an inchworm, then turn it into a butterfly, and put him back into an inchworm. That’s what Nipsey did,” Lathan said, according to the outlet.
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“He transformed around there and tried to make money off his rap albums to help the community, to give back when there was no one giving back. So how can you put a halo and then put horns?”
That is the problem with the system, says Lathan and his attorney Lauren Noriega, who have accused the parole board of mistreating him and using laws to marginalize former inmates.
“After you serve your time and you learn better and you do better you’re still jeered at and poked at [like], ‘That’s him that’s him, that’s him, right there!” Lathan told KCAL.
Noriega added to the HuffPost: “The law is written in a way where really reformed and rehabilitated gang members have no opportunity to be seen as a reformed and rehabilitated in the eyes of the law.”
RELATED: Los Angeles Intersection to Be Renamed After Nipsey Hussle: He Was ‘an Icon and West Coast Hero’
Neither Noriega or representatives at the California Department of Corrections immediately responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Hussle, 33, died from gunshot wounds of both the head and torso, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed to PEOPLE.
Eric Holder, 29, has since been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a release from the Los Angeles County’s District Attorney’s Office.
On April 4, Holder entered a plea of not guilty in court. Holder could face a maximum sentence of life in state prison if convicted.
Holder has hired attorney Chris Darden, who famously was part of the prosecution team in O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, according to CBSLA.
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