Akon Protege Dolla Shot Dead At L.A. Mall

Akon Protege Dolla Shot Dead At L.A. Mall
Authorities said a man found with a gun at Los Angeles International Airport was being questioned by police over the upscale mall shooting of a young man identified by his publicist as Atlanta-based rapper Dolla.

Dolla, a rapping protege of hip-hop artist Akon, was fatally shot in the head Monday near a valet stand outside the Beverly Center, publicist Sue Vannasing told the Los Angeles Times.

Investigators were questioning a 20-year-old man found hours later in a ticketing area of the airport, said airport police spokesman Sgt. Jim Holcomb.

Dolla, whose real name is Roderick Burton II, was shot at the mall near West Hollywood and Beverly Hills after an argument with the gunman, Vannasing told the Times. Police and coroner's officials have not confirmed the victim's identity.

Police said the man detained at the airport remained in custody for questioning. He is believed to have dropped off a rental car before he was found at the airport with a handgun, Holcomb said.

"As the officers approached the suspect, they asked him 'Do you know why we're here?'" Holcomb told The Associated Press. "He put his (hands) up in the air and said, 'Yes, I've got a gun in my waistband. Don't shoot me.'"

Police recovered a loaded 9mm semiautomatic handgun and turned the man over to Los Angeles police.

Vannasing said the Atlanta-based Burton and another rapper, D.J. Shabbazz, were waiting at the valet stand after shopping when an argument broke out with another group and Burton was shot.

Police Sgt. Ronnie Crump said the other people with the gunman were persons of interest, though no arrests had been made. It was not clear how many people were with the gunman or what the argument was about.

Burton worked on the soundtrack for the 2006 dance film "Step Up" and recently released two singles with Akon. His MySpace page, which put his age at 20, said he once modeled for Diddy's Sean John clothing line and was signed to Jive and Elektra record labels.

Burton was working on his second album, "A Dolla and a Dream," which was due to be released on Akon's Konvict Muzik label.

A media contact listed on the rapper's MySpace page did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.

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