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Atlanta Rapper Silento Charged with Murdering His Cousin in DeKalb

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Atlanta rapper Silento, known for his hit song and viral dance craze “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” was arrested Monday in DeKalb County and charged with murder in the shooting death of his cousin, authorities said.

Ricky Lamar Hawk, 23, was arrested Monday after DeKalb police investigated the recent death of 34-year-old Frederick Rooks. Hawk was booked into the DeKalb jail on one count of murder, police spokeswoman Michaela Vincent said in a statement. He was being held without bond late Monday, jail records showed.

Police responded to a shots fired call Jan. 21 around 3:30 a.m. in the Panthersville area, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. They found Rooks dead at the scene with multiple gunshot wounds, according to DeKalb police Lt. Rod Bryant.

“I think it is connected to this house,” Bryant said at the time. “We’re still doing a little bit more investigation. The people in the house know him, but he really don’t live there, so we’re trying to see what’s going on.”

At the time, investigators had no information about the suspect.

“However, after a thorough investigation, DKPD detectives identified Hawk as Rooks’ cousin, and the person responsible for Rooks’ murder,” Vincent said.

Responding officers were able to gather video from multiple residents’ security cameras, according to the incident report. The video showed several cars fleeing the scene at high speeds, and the footage captured at least one gunshot. Eight bullet casings were collected at the scene, the report said.

Detectives are still working to uncover a motive for the shooting, Vincent said.

Hawk rose to fame as a teenage rap sensation in 2015, and his “Watch Me” video has been viewed nearly 1.8 billion times on YouTube.

He has been arrested multiple times in recent months. He was arrested twice in one week in August on domestic violence and gun charges in California. In late October, he was arrested and booked into the DeKalb jail on charges that he was speeding at more than 140 mph on I-85. According to the police report, he told officers that he was speeding because people were following him.

The incident report quoted Hawk as saying, “If there is like 10 cars following me, I can do 143 because I am not a regular person, and you could go look on your computer and it would tell you that.”

Hawk was released the same day on a signature bond, jail records show. Charges are still pending in that case.

In 2017, Hawk was temporarily banned from leaving the United Arab Emirates after a dispute about two performances that a promoter said the rapper failed to perform. He has also lent his talents to some charitable initiatives, including a video encouraging DeKalb school students to take the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test and an anti-vaping campaign.

Hawk was raised in Stone Mountain and is a graduate of Redan High School in DeKalb. After releasing his hit song in 2015, he told the AJC that he put “Watch Me” on YouTube to prove his doubters wrong after losing his high school talent show. He released his first album, “Fresh Outta High School,” in August 2018, several years after the meteoric release of his first single.