Rapper King Von had excitedly told fans about his new music just hours before he was shot dead. The talented 26-year-old musician, real name Dayvon Bennett, had hinted at a brand new video to accompany his track before he was gunned down in a car park in the early hours of Friday morning. The dad of three had shared a picture of himself sitting in a black car looking down at the camera on Thursday, the evening before his tragic death.
A stack of paper money lay at his feet in a bundle, and the rapper wore designer trainers, a blingy watch and a bright orange jacket for the promotional picture. "Armed & Dangerous Video Drops 2'morrow... y'all want it?" he captioned the moody snap on his Instagram. The rapper had been celebrating the release of his new album Welcome To O Block on the night of his death, and had urged fans to join him at a club called Opium for the launch party between 10pm and 3am.
But at around 3am on Friday morning, gunfire broke out at a car park outside Monaco Hookah Lounge between two groups. Von was reportedly unarmed but was fatally wounded during the exchange. Three other man were shot but survived, including Von's manager, who remained in hospital last night.
Off-duty cops ran to the scene calling for backup, and some police officers fired shots, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed. But Atlanta police said its officers were not behind Von's shooting. "At this time, our investigators believe Mr Bennett was shot during the initial shootout between the two groups of males, prior to police responding and attempting to stop the shooting," the force said in a statement.
"Part of the investigations will include determining which individuals were struck by gunfire from the suspects and whether any were struck by gunfire from the officers. Charges are anticipated against the two suspects detained on-scene and additional charges are likely as the investigation continues."
Tributes have been flooding in to the up and coming rapper, including from fellow musician Chance The Rapper, who tweeted: "Wow. This year was so tough. rip von God bless him and his family I can't believe it." Basketball legend LeBron James added: "Damn Rest Easy Von! Bronny, Bryce and I rocked with his music and story telling! The kid had a damn good future ahead of him. My prayers and blessings to his family. #LeVonJames #KingVon."
In a statement, Von's publicist wrote: "He was a devoted father, a deeply loyal friend, and a man who took care of his people before himself. "We are heartbroken for his family, his friends, his team, and his fans. Long live King Von." The father of three was born in Chicago's South Side but moved to Atlanta to build his budding rap career and to escape trouble.
He would occasionally return to his hometown "with wads of cash, and give them to families and kids in need", said his rep. Von found himself in jail at 16 - the start of a long battle with the law - and in 2014 was accused of murdering one man and attempting to kill two others, but charges were dropped when witnesses refused to testify. Von turned to music to rebuild his life, collaborating with childhood friend Lil Durk and getting signed to his label. His single Crazy Story was met with critical acclaim in 2018 and Von released his first album Welcome To O Block just a week before his death.