Police have charged a Sydney rapper after he allegedly tried to “assassinate” a hip-hop rival known as “Big Kash” that he had been feuding with online for months.
Insta-famous hip-hop artist John Lavulo, the alleged victim, drove himself to Liverpool Hospital after he was shot in the arm and elbow while sitting in the vehicle in his driveway on August 8.
Police arrested another rapper, Thomas Vandermade, over the incident and on Friday Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow lamented: “It’s really unacceptable that people can’t sort their differences out without using firearms.”
Mr Vandermade, known as “Masi Rooc”, was arrested by tactical police units on Thursday at a unit in Blacktown in relation to the shooting.
The 29-year-old was charged with shooting with intent to murder, discharge firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and not disclosing the identity of a driver or passenger.
Detective Superintendent Critchlow, the Criminal Groups Squad Commander, set out the police case in a media conference on Friday.
He alleged the drive-by shooting was an “attempt at assassination” between rap rivals. and police were treating “public taunting” between the people involved as motivation for the shooting.
Mr Vandermade was referenced several times on Mr Lavulo’s social media accounts, where he was called a coward, a “little bitch” and other expletives.
Posts seen by the ABC showed the fierce interactions went on for months before the August 8 shooting.
“The motive sits around interactions between rap groups and those that see themselves as rappers,” the police commander said.
Electronic devices were seized from the Blacktown unit when Mr Vandermade was arrested.
The Detective Superintendent said Mr Vandermade was just one of several suspects involved in the shooting and authorities would be seeking further arrests.
He alleged these rival groups, often “involved in crime or personal misbehaviour”, had no regard for public safety.
“These people do not have self-control,” he said.
“Private conflicts in groups and cohorts are being conducted in public places.
“I don’t understand why they think it’s reasonable to shoot guns in a public street outside people’s homes. It cannot continue.”
Mr Vandermade was refused bail and will appear at Blacktown Local Court on Friday.
Mr Lavulo is still wearing a sling after his surgery and police said he was continuing to receive physical treatment for his injuries.