Some R.I.P. messages on the MySpace page of local rapper Robert Henry Brown IV, aka "Brikk," read like his lyrics, proud and vengeful, tinged with sadness.
"I will!!! find out and something will!! be done ... I promise u that ... I just wish u had more time to do yo thang," writes a friend with the profile name PlayboieProductionz. "... u will be missed alot from yo family and yo friends ... piney woods wont neva die ... dey get stronga ..," writes friend Precious ... Sweet 18.
The 33-year-old rapper, a member of the rap duo Pinney Woods, was shot and killed Saturday night during a robbery at 3929 Webb Oaks Court, police said Tuesday. Another man, 44-year-old Josquin Jackson, of Richmond, Calif., also was shot and is listed in critical condition at Erlanger hospital, Chattanooga Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Kim Noorbergen said.
Police found Mr. Brown dead and face down in a house plant when they arrived, according to a report from the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office. Both men had been bound with duct tape and shot multiple times, the report said.
* Jan. 16: Franklin Bonner, 68
* Feb. 6: Cornelius Williams, 31
* Feb. 12: Allen Verdule, 35
* Feb. 21: Eric Stiles, 25
* Feb. 27: Jonah Garner, 22
* March 24: Andre Minor, 27
* Saturday: Robert Henry Brown IV, 33
Source: Chattanooga Police Department
Police did not recover any shell casings or bullets, according to the report.
Police said they believe the shooting began as a home invasion and robbery and did not target the rapper or his friend specifically. Police did not release the victims' identities until Tuesday, when they arrested Dexter Talley, 28, because Mr. Jackson feared for his safety as the lone person able to identify the shooter, officials said.
Mr. Talley was arrested and booked on charges of felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault, police said.
In Hamilton County Criminal Court in 2002, Mr. Talley pleaded guilty to aggravated assault after being charged with aggravated robbery, according to court records. As a convicted felon, he was prohibited from carrying a weapon.
Many in the local rap community were appalled by the news, and rumors of revenge began floating through it, said Joshua "J-Hubb" Hubbard, a local hip-hop artist and manager.
"It doesn't help that it happened to this guy, who was doing particularly well with his career and was on the brink of making it," he said.
While he didn't know the duo personally, he recognized their faces.
"They actually were past the point of trying to make it," Mr. Hubbard said. "They had just walked in the door, so to speak."
Pinney Woods, which includes Mr. Brown's partner, Travis Moore, known as Mobb, is signed to Black Ice Records of Richmond, Calif., a subsidiary of the Universal Music Group. The two have appeared on stage alongside nationally known groups including OutKast, 8Ball & MJG and New Beginnings, which featured fellow Chattanooga native Usher Raymond.
Local hip-hop artist Michael "Madd Dreams" Isbell said he plans to write a song about the killing of Mr. Brown, and he thinks someone was jealous of the duo and went after the rapper.
"I feel like somebody had a grudge against them because they were on, because they were doing better than somebody else," he said.
Mr. Brown and Mr. Moore attended Howard High School, originally formed a group called P-Dubb and were passed from label to label before being discovered while performing at a local Elks Lodge, according to the biography.
P-Dubb later changed its name in a nod to the Piney Woods neighborhood off Central Avenue.