Man arrested in fatal shooting of Migos rapper Takeoff

HOUSTON– A 33-year-old man has been arrested for murder in the shooting death of rapper Takeoff, who police say was an “innocent bystander” when he was struck by gunfire outside a Houston bowling alley on Friday.

Patrick Xavier Clark was peacefully taken into custody Thursday night, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said. Clark’s arrest came a day after another man was charged in connection with the November 1 shooting, which authorities say followed an argument over a dice game and injured two others.

Clark was being held in jail Friday awaiting a bail hearing. Court records do not list an attorney who could speak for him, but indicate he was arrested as he was preparing to leave the country for Mexico.

Takeoff, born Kirsnick Khari Ball, was the youngest member of Migos, the Grammy-nominated rap trio from suburban Atlanta that also included his uncle Quavo and cousin Offset.

The 28-year-old musician was shot and killed outside the downtown bowling alley around 2:30 a.m., when police said a row broke out as more than 30 people left a private party there. Police earlier said another man and woman suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds and at least two people opened fire.

Police Sgt Michael Burrow said during a news conference on Friday that the shooting followed a disagreement over a “lucrative” craps game, but that Takeoff was not involved and was “an innocent bystander”. Finner said police don’t know if Clark was invited to the party or if he knew Takeoff.

All those at the scene left without speaking to police, Burrow said. Some of those individuals have since been located by authorities, who Burrow said also worked to piece together events using ballistics, video and audio recordings. He said investigators were still trying to locate witnesses.

“We’ll look for you,” he said. “It will be easier if you come to us.”

On Wednesday, authorities announced the arrest of Cameron Joshua in connection with the shooting. Joshua was charged with illegally having a gun at the time Takeoff was taped, but prosecutors said the 22-year-old did not fire the gun. Christopher Downey, Joshua’s attorney, told reporters that he saw nothing to suggest his client was involved in Takeoff’s assassination.

Burrow said investigators believe it was Clark’s shots that killed the rapper.

Prosecutors on Friday asked a court to set Clark’s bail at $1 million, arguing he was a fugitive. After the shooting at Takeoff, Clark applied for an expedited passport by filing the itinerary for an “imminent” flight to Mexico, according to court documents. They say he was arrested the day he received the passport and was in possession of a “large amount” of cash.

Fans and other artists, including Drake and Justin Bieber, celebrated Takeoff’s musical legacy at a memorial service in Atlanta last month.

Migos’ record label, Quality Control, mourned Takeoff’s death in a statement posted to Instagram, which attributed it to “senseless violence”.

Migos first broke through in 2013 with the huge hit “Versace”. They had four top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, although Takeoff wasn’t featured on their multi-week No. 1 hit “Bad and Boujee” with Lil Uzi Vert. They released a trilogy of albums called Culture, Culture II, and Culture III, with the first two reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Takeoff never released a solo album, but in the weeks leading up to his death he and Quavo released Only Built for Infinity Links. Hoping the album together would inspire respect for his lyrical skills, Takeoff told the Drink Champs podcast, “It’s time to give me my flowers.”

When Clark’s arrest was announced Friday, Takeoff’s voice was heard again, featured on “Feel The Fiyaaaah” alongside A$AP Rocky on Metro Boomin’s album Heroes and Villains, released that day.

He sang, “It’s quiet in the streets now.”

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Bleiberg reported from Dallas. Associated Press journalist Mallika Sen contributed reporting from New York.

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