Chicago police are investigating possible connections between the Tuesday slaying of a teen rapper, a raging Englewood gang conflict and a mocking Tweet on the account of the victim’s rap rival — rising South Side star Chief Keef, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times
Joseph Coleman, known as “Lil JoJo” in the rap world, was gunned down near 69th and Prairie, about a block from where Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson grew up and where her family was slain in 2008.
Witnesses said Coleman, 18, was riding double on a bike — standing on the back — when a car pulled up and someone fired six or seven shots at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Coleman was hit in the back before running to a nearby home, where he later died outside as witnesses screamed “JoJo!” witnesses said.
A witness said the shots came from an tan, older model, four-door Ford Taurus that was riding low in the back.
After Coleman collapsed, people came to his aid. There was little blood, but Coleman’s eyes were dilated, cold and fixed. “It was the like the look of death,” another witness said
When asked if he could hear them, Coleman attempted to nod. Paramedics arrived about 10 minutes later, witnesses said, and Coleman was still breathing and gurgling. But he later died.
Hours after the murder, on Chief Keef’s Twitter account, a message was posted saying, “Its Sad Cuz Dat N—- Jojo Wanted To Be Jus Like Us #LMAO.”
LMAO is slang for “laughing my a** off.”
That Tweet drew angry responses among Chief Keef’s 224,000 Twitter followers.
His account later carried Tweets claiming it had been hacked and saying, “If u dnt talk 2 me or dro my manager … it’s not real.”
The 17-year-old, Chicago-born Chief Keef — whose real name is Keith Cozart — signed a record deal in June with Interscope, the same rap label of superstars including Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Eminem and Diddy.
Keef’s manager, Rovan Manuel, told the Sun-Times he was unaware of the controversy. It wasn’t until being told about the Tweet by the Sun-Times that Manuel realized why his phone rang incessantly Wednesday. His number was posted on Chief Keef’s Twitter page.
But Manuel told the Sun-Times he didn’t believe the message meant “anything personally.” He said Keef had a beef with JoJo only because “that kid made songs like Keef.”
“A lot of the stuff Keef does, that’s just cause he’s a kid,” Manuel said. “People forget that he’s a kid, a teenager … and kids make mistakes. He makes mistakes the hard way.”
Chicago police officers were on the street Wednesday night looking for Coleman’s killer. Police are looking to see if his murder is connected to an ongoing conflict in Englewood between the Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples street gangs that has been playing out in a series of threats on social media sites.