Friends, family mourn death of Houston’s Third Ward rapper

HOUSTON (AP) — Residents from Houston’s Third Ward are mourning the shooting death of Xavier Roberson, a rapper who used his music as a vehicle to highlight systemic racism and police brutality.

Rapping under the moniker Obe Noir, Roberson, 31, was fatally shot early Monday, March 8, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Witnesses say they heard gunfire around 3:40 a.m. before spotting him running down the street. A vehicle drove around the block “as if chasing Roberson,” opened fire and fled, according to police.

Roberson, a good friend to George Floyd, had marched the streets of Houston and Washington D.C. after Floyd’s death. He was planning to honor Floyd by forming a nonprofit to help people in the Third Ward.

Cal Wayne, a Houston rapper who also grew up with Floyd in Cuney Homes, said Roberson stuck out among other aspiring rappers “because of his vocabulary — how fluent he was. How much he could articulate a story on any topic.”

Roberson also played professional basketball in multiple countries overseas, including Colombia, where local news reports about his death hailed him as a “great figure” on the team, Titanes de Barranquilla.

Houston police have not made an arrest in the killing, and a detailed description of the suspects was not available.

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