Sources: Slain Pittsburgh Rapper Jimmy Wopo Investigated For Ties To Other Homicides
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Rapper Jimmy Wopo had quite the following and was known beyond the Pittsburgh music scene, but that all that ended on Monday afternoon when he was shot multiple times in the Hill District.
Friends flooded social media with remembrances after the shooting, but now we're learning he was no stranger to police.
According to police sources, investigators are out on the streets following the double drive-by shooting trying to determine if Wopo, whose real name was Travon Smart, was involved in several shootings.
Police sources confirm that Wopo is being looked at for his possible involvement in two homicides.
KDKA's Marty Griffin spoke to Wopo's attorney who says the 21-year-old rapper was a good young man who was out of the so-called "thug life."
But, following the shooting, two very different characterizations of Wopo are emerging.
One police source calling Wopo a "Hill District terror." Another police source saying, "We are going to try to talk to witnesses who were afraid of him. We hope they will cooperate. We hope we can now clear a few cases, now that he's dead."
KDKA also spoke with Wopo's attorney, Owen Seman.
He says the rapper called him 15 minutes before he was fatally shot, and says Wopo was thrilled about a tour and a record deal.
Seman says any allegations that Wopo was involved in shootings is ridiculous. He say Wopo was a kind, hard-working young man looking forward to an amazing future.
KDKA's Lynne Hayes-Freeland Reports:
Others who knew him, including his manager, say Wopo was great with kids in the community.
"Kids would go running up to him, they flocked to him, he was like their idol. He still is their idol," said Taylor Maglin, Wopo's manager. "He still is the Hill district's king in my opinion."
WAMO Radio DJ Mike Dean added, "Kids from Cranberry to Erie all love this guy."
They say Wopo was reportedly on the verge of signing a record label contract and beginning a multi city tour. Potential unfilled, and leaving many who knew him wondering how, why and where does it end.
"He comes from a rough environment, and you can't expect him to rap about happy things when the environment he was brought up in was very, very rough," said Maglin.
"What goes through my heart is that he was a kid, he was only 21 with a lot of potential, he was an inspiration to a lot of people," Dean said.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Police have no official comment regarding any alleged investigations Wopo may be involved in.
The Pittsburgh Public Safety Department released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying in part, "Pittsburgh Police continue to investigate the shooting death of Travon Smart, also known as Jimmy Wopo... The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is thoroughly investigating this homicide, as we do all homicides in the city. The investigation is active and ongoing. Per policy, and to protect the integrity of the investigation, police do not comment on ongoing investigations. Crimes are always easier to solve when community members assist police."
Wopo was fatally shot while riding in an SUV with another man, who was also injured in the gunfire. Wopo was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital where he later died. The other man went to the hospital in stable condition.
KDKA's Marty Griffin spoke to a number of police officers who worked the Hill District and who knew Wopo. One says, "I always heard the stories regarding possible criminal activity. Honestly, he was always very nice when I saw him."
Wopo leaves behind his parents, two children and a third on the way.
Police are asking anyone with information on the shooting to call city homicide detectives at 412-323-7800.
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