A Baton Rouge rapper known as Blvd Quick was found dead early Monday after a shooting at an apartment complex just off Interstate 12 at Millerville Road.
The body of Ashton Wells, 25, was found near a building at the Lakeside Villa Apartments in the 2400 block of Weldwood Drive about 12:30 a.m. Monday, said Baton Rouge Police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola Jr.
Wells had lived at the complex.
Multiple posts on social media referred to the death of Blvd Quick, many with tributes to him and his music. In a comment on Blvd Quick's latest music video posted on YouTube Saturday, the videographer wrote early Monday, "Rest in Peace Blvd Quick." The video, "Slept on It," has been viewed more than 100,000 times.
According to social media posts by Blvd Quick, the rapper had been close friends with another local rapper, Garrett Burton, known as "Gee Money," who was killed in September 2017, also in a shooting. Many of Blvd Quick's posts on Instagram are tributes to Gee Money.
One of Blvd Quick's most watched music videos was in collaboration with Gee Money in February 2017, with more than 1.6 million views on YouTube. One of his solo songs, published on YouTube in June, is just shy of 1 million views. His attorney, Ron Haley, said Blvd Quick had signed with local label TBG Records.
Haley said he has come to know Wells as he’s represented him in some criminal cases, mostly after arrests on drug and gun violations.
“Quick had a big heart. He loved his family,” Haley said. “Just as it looked like he was coming up for him to be cut down, is just a tragedy. … I want this cycle to stop.”
Wells was released from jail in April after a probation revocation for a possession of heroin conviction from a 2015 incident.
“Our conversations have been shifting very much to, ‘I need to get these things behind me so I can push forward with my career,'” Haley said. “Everything was focused on his craft and his (family).”
A 22-year-old local rapper was shot to death early Sunday on Dallas Drive, Baton Rouge police said.
East Baton Rouge Emergency Medical Services spokesman Mike Chustz said a shooting was reported at the apartment complex just before midnight Sunday. Residents of the building closest to the shooting said they heard about five shots late Sunday.
"I was hoping the bullets didn't come through the walls," said resident Thomas Mason, 75. "I am concerned."
Blood stained the sidewalk in front of the first building inside the gated apartment complex off Millerville Road. Chase Corley said he was in bed when he heard about five or six shots, and then peeked out his front balcony. He said he saw someone run back through the building toward the woods, and later spoke to the detectives about the case.
"It was shocking," said Corley, 22. "I hope it was an isolated incident. … It's sad."
Corley said he recognized the man who was killed as a neighbor; he had seen him around but not spoken to him. He said there was no vehicle near the man when he was shot and hadn't noticed any other particularly suspicious activity.
Another resident, Kara Classert, said she was stuck at the complex's entrance after returning from a late shift at work for hours while officers cleared the crime scene.
All his neighbors who spoke with The Advocate said they were concerned by the shooting and would like to see more security in the complex. Classert recommended more cameras; Corley said he is already looking for a new place to live.
Classert said it wasn't until later on Monday when she realized she knew the man who was killed. She said she had met Blvd Quick years ago through friends who were also in the music industry and followed his songs.
"It's depressing. He had a lot going for him," Classert, 19, said. "He was a good rapper."
She said she assumes his rapping was a factor in his violent death.
"It's not a game out here," she said. She said she knows violence and rap are often linked, but wished that would not be the case.
In many of his music videos, Blvd Quick holds and points a variety of handguns and references violence. But in his latest song, Blvd Quick rapped about his family, including his two children.
"I do this s*** for my Momma. ... I hold that rock for my family," he rapped. "I do this s*** for my daughter, ... for my son."
This is the Baton Rouge area's 12th homicide in November, a sharp spike in deadly violence after a relatively peaceful October, when only one killing occurred. A 13th person was killed last week, however authorities believe it was a justified shooting.
This killing marks the 77th homicide in East Baton Rouge Parish for the year, according to The Advocate's unofficial count of killings that have not been ruled justified or accidental. While this year's total count remains significantly below last year's record high, it has surpassed the pace from 2016 and 2015.
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Coppola said there are no known suspects or motives in the shooting. He asked anyone with information to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.