Beloved Baltimore Rapper Who Promoted ‘Peace in These Streets’ Fatally Shot, Peaceful Vigil Disrupted by Police in Riot Gear

Baltimore rapper Lor Scoota. Photo courtesy of WBAL-TV.

Baltimore rapper Lor Scoota. Photo courtesy of WBAL-TV.

“How I’m supposed to live with all this death in my sight?”

Those were the lyrics of 23-year-old up-and-coming rapper Lor Scoota.

Hailing from the West side of Baltimore, Scoota had risen to fame with his 2014 smash hit ‘Bird Flu’ but was also known for his conscious efforts to promote peace in his beloved city. Ironically, the rising star was gunned down in the very streets he was working to improve.

Tyriece Travon Watson, known to Baltimoreans as Lor Scoota, was shot and killed Saturday evening shortly after leaving a charity basketball game, The Washington Post reports. Baltimore police say the rapper was driving east around 6:56 p.m. when an unidentified Black man sporting a white bandanna stepped into the street and fired shots directly into Scoota’s car.

He was rushed to a local area hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after.

The tragic shooting occurred just a mile from the arena where Scoota had just finished hosting a charity sporting event aimed at promoting peace in the streets of Baltimore. Fliers for the basketball game displayed a photo of the popular rapper and the words “pray for peace in these streets” in bright yellow letters.

According to The Washington Post, fellow musicians and important faces from around the city gathered at the Morgan State University field house to prove they could all get along.

“Supposedly people think all the rappers don’t like each other, so we brought everyone together,” said Tadoe, a fellow rap artist who participated in the charity game. “It was about having fun, showing that there was a smile on everybody’s face.”

In addition to his music, Scoota was known around Baltimore for promoting messages of anti-street violence. For instance, the rapper recorded a series of PSA’s for radio station 92Q in the wake of the Baltimore riots prompted by the death of Freddie Gray. Scoota’s messages expressed “understanding for those that were angry” but also encouraged peace amongst the city’s residents, Baltimore’s City Paper reported.

The paper also stated that Scoota participated in a panel discussion organized by Nick Mosby, the husband of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. The panel spoke to students at Frederick Douglass High School following the nights of unrest in the city.

Just last month, the rapper posted a video of himself reading a book to elementary school students on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., City Paper reports.

Scoota’s push for peace amongst his fellow Baltimoreans makes his death all the more ironic.

“We have to be tired of this,” Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith wrote in a tweet. “Can #Scoota be a wake up call for us? He entertained many, now gone, just like that. We are better than this.”

Monday evening, nearly a thousand of Scoota’s fans and supporters gathered for a vigil in the city’s streets to celebrate the young rapper’s life. The peaceful event soon turned sour as Baltimore police showed up in riot gear to disperse the large crowd.

Social activist and Baltimore resident Kwame Rose attended the vigil and said police informed him that there was not a permit for that many people to be there; permits are required to hold public vigils. However, police did say they would allow people to gather for a few hours and pay their respects because of who Scoota was and the influence he had on the city.

According to police, “More people showed up than expected,” Rose told Atlanta Black Star. “And we went over the [allotted] time. So riot police were brought in.”

Rose said the vigil started at 5 p.m. and Baltimore city police showed up around 8:45. He explained that police have a huge fear of more unrest unfolding in the city.

“The commissioner even said that last night,” Rose stated. “He said, ‘Our adrenaline was rushing because we hadn’t seen that many people since last April,’ ” referencing the riots that occurred following Freddie Gray’s death.

“That’s why the police showed up in riot gear,” Rose continued. “Basically because they were scared and provoked by a thousand Black people in the middle of the street.”

Rose said no violent acts prompted police to come. Three people were arrested however, one being a mediator and “others were just community members outraged and traumatized at the fact that there were riot police, tanks, and rifles at a peaceful vigil,” Rose told ABS. He captured the intense ordeal on live video app Periscope.

Other activists and community members also took to social media to share their accounts of what happened at the slain rapper’s vigil.

Funeral services for Lor Scoota will be held on Friday at Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, according to Rose’s Twitter account.

Police are investigating the rapper’s death as a targeted attack.

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