An armed man was shot and killed by off-duty police officers at the Northlake Mall in North Carolina Thursday, according to police and local news reports. While the details of the incident are still unfolding, WBTV has confirmed that the victim was 18-year-old Daquan Antonio Westbrook, a rapper who went by the name of Donkey Cartel. Who was Daquan Westbrook, the rapper killed at Northlake Mall?
Westbrook was a rapper from North Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s released two mixtapes, including one called Convicted Felon With A Weapon, and appears to maintain an active Twitter account under the handle @Donkey_cartel. Many of Westbrook’s tweets promote his music; some contain cryptic references to violence and guns, while one appears to reference Northlake Mall itself, where he was killed.
According to WBTV, Westbrook had been arrested “at least 11 times” since 2013. Local news reports that Westbrook was arrested in 2014 in connection with the shooting of a 12-year-old boy a year earlier. He was charged with multiple counts, including assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. The boy he allegedly shot, however, only suffered minor injuries.
Thursday’s shooting occurred around 2:00 p.m. inside the Northlake mall, when two groups of people allegedly started arguing heatedly at a shoe store. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said that off-duty officers inside the mall heard gunshots ring out, went to the site of the shooting, and saw a man — later identified as Westbrook — point a gun at one of the officers, who shot him in response. Several people were sent to a local hospital with minor injuries, and no police officers were injured in the incident.
The broader circumstances surrounding the dispute are still unknown. However, witnesses told Dedrick Russell of WBTV that Thursday’s shooting was allegedly connected with another incident a week earlier, in which Westbrook’s brother was shot and killed; this, however, hasn’t been confirmed by authorities. Putney said in a press conference that the people involved in Thursday’s shooting were “a group of subjects who have a history of feuding back and forth,” and that there was “evidence of multiple weapons there at the scene.”
When reports first emerged that Westbrook was the victim in the shooting, certain people on Twitter posted tasteless and crude jokes making light of his death. Some responded to the news with flagrant racism, referring to the rapper as “a thug” who deserved to be killed, while some linked to a tweet Westbrook sent in 2014 that read, “Im Racist I Dont Like White People.”
According to The New York Daily News, a friend of Westbrook's who was at the scene of the shooting told reporters that Westbrook and his girlfriend were expecting a child. The officer who shot and killed Westbrook has reportedly been placed on paid administrative leave, which Putney said was standard operating procedure in situations like this.