Coolio shot dead by rape suspect

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NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- A suspect in recent rape case beat and wrestled Grammy award winning rapper "Coolio" then shot him to death, authorities said.


Artis Leon Ivey, Jr., also known as rapper "Coolio", 45, was shot to death by a man who fit the description of a rape suspect.

The incident was the latest crime to shake New Orleans, a city that has suffered a spike in murders since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

About 10 a.m. Tuesday, Ivey, 45, was alone in a car driving through the city.

He spotted Bernel Johnson, a 44-year-old who fit the description of a suspect in a recent sexual assault. He approached him and began to question him.

When he tried to wrestle him, Johnson -- twice Ivey's size -- overpowered him and grabbed his platinum chain and began to beat him for several minutes in the head and arms, said a New Orleans Police spokesman.

Johnson then tore the rapper's gun from his car's glove box and allegedly shot him once in the head and began to walk away. But he came back and shot him three more times, said spokesman Sgt. Joe Narcisse.

Police say a surveillance camera captured the killing.

Johnson was arrested a short time later, said Narcisse, and handed over the Ivey's weapon without a struggle. He has been charged with murder, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

"It's a somber but a very sobering occasion for us. It brings us back to the reality of police work. It's incredibly saddening considering the senselessness of the crime," Narcisse said.

New Orleans police said Johnson wasn't the suspect they were looking for in the rape case, and he had no outstanding warrants. The Associated Press reported he had been arrested numerous times on suspected sex offenses.

"We will continue to police because we simply have to. It makes us take a step sideways, but we're not moving back," said Narcisse. "We recognize the danger. We mourn Coolio's loss. We can't stop. You don't stop the fight just because we're aching."

Cliffs: Coolio was beaten and then shot by a rape suspect in New Orleans.
 
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