Investigators say Chicago rapper King Vaughan was among three people shot dead outside an Atlanta nightclub on Friday.
They said it happened when two men approached his group in a car park after leaving the city’s opium nightclub for the Monaco hookah lounge.
The dispute over the shooting escalated – the other three were shot but escaped.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said on-off-duty police responded and opened fire.
However, Atlanta police said the 26-year-old rapper was not killed by officers. Its real name is Devon Bennett.
“At this point, our investigators believe Bennett was shot during a preliminary shootout between the two groups, before police could respond and try to stop the shooting,” police said in a statement.
Part of the investigation is to determine what caused the shooting from the suspects and whether the officers were involved in the shooting.
Charges are pending against the two suspects who were detained at the scene and are likely to face additional charges as the investigation continues.
King Vaughan has released his new album Welcome to O-Block, referring to the southern part of Chicago a week ago. He was considered one of the rising stars of rap.
Basketball star LeBron James paid tribute: “Damn Rest Easy Vaughn! Bronnie and Bryce and I were shaken by his music and story! The child had a bright future ahead of me. My prayers and blessings are family. #LeVonJames #KingVon.”
Chance the rapper posted: “Well, this year has been tough. Rip von God bless him and his family, I can’t believe it.”
Bennett moved to Atlanta to escape the turmoil in his hometown and to be part of Atlanta’s thriving rap scene, and according to the NPR, he will return to Chicago from time to time and “give a lot of money” to needy families and children.
“He was a devoted father, a very loyal friend, and a man who cared for his people before himself,” said his publisher.
“We are shocked by his family, friends, team and fans. King Vaughn will live long.”