Rapper XXXTentacion’s car is taken away by police
Two hours before he was ambushed outside a motorcycle dealership in Pompano Beach and shot dead Monday, South Florida rapper XXXTentacion appeared to be in good spirits as he looked ahead to an upcoming court hearing.
The 20-year-old musician, whose given name is Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, placed a phone call around 2 p.m. Monday with one of his lawyers, following up on a meeting Onfroy’s legal team held at his Parkland mansion on Saturday.
During the call with attorney Jaclyn Broudy, perhaps the last call he placed before his shooting at 4 p.m., Onfroy made no mention of a looming threat or of any potential enemies planning an ambush, said David Bogenshutz, the head of Onfroy’s legal team.
“He was a 20-year-old kid who had kind of hooked onto us as people that he talked to,” said Bogenshutz, a founding member of the law firm of Bogenshutz, Dutko & Kroll. “He didn’t have people who wanted to harm him.”
Since December, the firm had been representing Onfroy in a 2016 criminal case stemming from charges he physically abused his pregnant girlfriend, falsely imprisoned her and tampered with witnesses.
"His favorite thing was to just backhand my mouth," his girlfriend said in a deposition, according to the Miami New Times. "That always left welts inside my lips." Onfroy would also fill a bathtub, dangle a microwave over the water, and threaten to let go, New Times reported.
Onfroy had denied the allegations.
Bogenshutz said Onfroy's death should lead to the case's dismissal. A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade state attorney's office said Tuesday the decision about the case will be made at the next hearing, set for June 28.
Onfroy, a rising star in the music industry whose 2016 arrest and outcry over his treatment of his pregnant girlfriend led many of his supporters to vociferously defend him, was shot and killed by two unknown assailants as he was leaving RIVA Motorsports in Pompano Beach, 3671 N. Dixie Hwy., according to the Broward Sheriff's Office. The suspects approached him as he sat inside a matte-black BMW i8 in what appeared to be an armed robbery. No arrests have been made.
Despite his extensive criminal record — he was arrested more than a dozen times before he turned 18, for crimes ranging from grand theft to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon — and the allegations made against him by his former girlfriend, Onfroy was described by his great-grandmother Corine Jones as an empathetic and generous young man.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Jones described how Onfroy cared for her after she had a stroke last year.
"He put his blanket on the floor and lied on my bedside when I was sleeping; he's very devoted," she said, likening his behavior to that of a "little dog."
For the last few Christmases, Onfroy made a habit of giving Jones $1,000. Recently, he bought her an apartment near his home.
Lately, she'd taken to calling Onfroy "Hercules" because "he acts strong." "He loved to hear me say that," she said.
The rapper's 2016 song "Look at Me!" earned him his first mainstream buzz, and his latest album, entitled '?', debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
He has feuded publicly with rap stars like Drake and Migos, and spoke openly about death. A few months ago, Onfroy posted an Instagram live video that proved a harbinger of a "tragic death."
"If I’m going to die or ever be a sacrifice, I want to make sure that my life made at least 5 million kids happy or they found some sort of answers or resolve in my life,” he said on the video. "If worst comes to worse — I f***ing die a tragic death or some s*** — and I’m not able to see out my dreams I at least want to know that the kids perceive my message and were able to make something of themselves."
Bogenshutz said Onfroy was "happy, not dark" and that his on-stage persona was only part of his identity. He said the rapper took financial care of his family and friends, some of whom live with him.
"He was still a child and trying to figure out where he belongs in the world," Bogenshutz said, adding that he had become more adept at handling his new-found fame. "He loved being a musician and was extremely talented at it."
Onfroy was pronounced dead at a local hospital, as a crush of friends and family — including his lawyer — gathered outside. Outside the dealership, fans bearing flowers, stuffed bears and fireworks held an impromptu vigil on Monday evening. Onfroy's music was played as attendees remembered the rapper.
During a vigil organized outside the dealership on Tuesday evening, dozens of fans forced a street closure near the makeshift memorial for Onfroy.
Daion Araujo stood with his hands in “X” as people lit candles, held balloons and sobbed loudly on the sidewalks covered in chalk messages.
“It’s X day, X day, X day,” he shouted, as people joined in unison. “Today is X Day.”
One attendee, 17-year-old Cory McSherry, said he stayed up until 6 a.m. crying and listening to Onfroy's music. The rapper's songs saved his life, he said.
"He may have had a past and people may have perceived him as a negative person, but he really was a positive person and really cared about everyone," McSherry said.
At times, the group sang along to the rapper’s songs including "Alone." “Please I don’t wanna be alone, please I don’t wanna be alone.”
Tashia McKinney, 20, said she knew Onfroy from her school days at Piper High in Sunrise. The last time she spoke to him was about a month ago.
“I was feeling low and he was there to encourage me,” she said.
McKinney said just yesterday, before she knew that her friend had been killed, she got a tattoo of the word solitary with a peace sign on her arm, in solidarity to Onfroy’s alone tattoo on his face.
“It means even more now,” she said.
In a statement to the media released Tuesday evening, Onfroy's management team said it would soon release information about an upcoming memorial service.
"XXXTentacion touched the lives of millions around the globe and will forever reside in the hearts of countless fans who listened to his music, attended his concerts, and felt the glow of his uncontainable, undeniable, and unique spirit," the rapper's management team said in a prepared statement.
Through its Twitter account, RIVA Motorsports said Onfroy — apparently a regular customer — was "part of the RIVA family." Its tweet includes photos of Onfroy taken during previous visits. The store closed an hour early Tuesday, so employees could join the vigil.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend Jahseh," the statement reads. "We considered him part of the RIVA family and he will be deeply missed."