Richard Lamar Hawk aka Silento Atlanta-area rapper arrested in shooting murder of cousin Frederick Rooks. Best known for ‘Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)’ viral hit. No known motive.
The 23-year-old musician, whose real name is Richard Lamar Hawk, was taken into custody on Monday in connection with the death of Frederick Rooks. He was being held without bond at the DeKalb County Jail on suspicion of felony murder, according to a statement from the DeKalb County Police Department.
Officers responded to reports of shots fired on Jan. 21 when they discovered Rooks around 3:30 a.m. in the community of Panthersville, an Atlanta suburb. Authorities at the time said the 34-year-old victim died on the scene that night from multiple gunshot wounds.
According to an incident report obtained by NBC News, Rooks was struck once in the leg and again in the face.
Security video taken near the scene revealed several cars fleeing after the shooting. Neighbors told authorities of hearing multiple gunshots ring out and several car horn honks that night.
Life imitating art?
Police spokesperson Michaela Vincent told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that after a ‘thorough investigation’ the rapper was identified as the victim’s cousin and the ‘person responsible for Rooks’ murder.’
Silento’s ‘Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)’ blew up on social media after its release in 2015. It spawned viral dance moves and challenges including those named for the song, “Whip” and “Nae Nae.”
Hawk’s song also earned him a top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The song inspired a dance craze at the time, along with countless social media videos of fans performing the individual dances and cementing the rapper’s bad boy image and popular culture appeal.
The song has since received nearly 1.8 billion views on YouTube.
History of violence
It wasn’t immediately understood what led to the musician shooting his cousin dead.
Hawk has had several recent run-ins with the law leading up to his Monday arrest, including two arrests in one week last August in California.
In one of the cases, Hawk allegedly broke into a random Los Angeles home wielding a hatchet in search of his girlfriend. That incident led to the high profile rapper being arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.