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Openly gay rapper murdered in Puerto Rico amid wave of violence

San Juan, Puerto Rico — One of the few well-known openly gay rappers in Puerto Rico has become a victim of intensifying violence on the island.

Kevin Fret, a 24-year-old musician and outspoken advocate for the LGBT community, was murdered early Thursday morning in Santurce, one of San Juan's busiest and most densely populated neighborhoods, according to El Vocero, one the largest newspapers in Puerto Rico.

Police said a man was shot eight times around 5:31 a.m. while driving a motorcycle and was taken to the Río Piedras Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

According to police, the murder is the 22nd homicide in Puerto Rico in 2019. Police said the killing is under investigation by the criminal investigations bureau in San Juan.

Fret's manager, Eduardo Rodriguez, confirmed his client's death in a statement to Billboard.

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Kevin Fret @KevinfretOfficial/Facebook

"Kevin was an artistic soul, a big-hearted dreamer. His passion was music, and still had a lot to do. This violence must stop," Rodriguez said. "There are no words that describe the feeling we have and the pain that causes us to know that a person with so many dreams has to go. We must all unite in these difficult times, and ask for much peace for our beloved Puerto Rico."

Over the past weeks, mounting crime and violence — including killings captured on camera in broad daylight — have beset Puerto Rico. With local law enforcement struggling to curb what the top FBI official on the island described as a "crisis of violence," police union leaders are demanding that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló fire the Public Safety Secretary, who oversees the police force.