Chicago rapper King Von was among three people shot dead outside an Atlanta nightclub on Friday, according to investigators.
They said it happened when his group was approached by two men in a car park after they left the city’s Opium Nightclub to go to Monaco Hookah Lounge.
An argument escalated into gunfire – three other men were also shot but survived.
On and off-duty police responded and fired shots, said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
However, Atlanta police said its officers did not killer the 26-year-old rapper, whose real name was Dayvon Bennett.
“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,” police 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.”
King Von released his new album Welcome To O-Block, a reference to Chicago’s South Side where he grew up, just a week ago. He was considered one of rap’s rising stars.
Basketball star LeBron James was one of those to pay tribute, tweeting: “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.”
Chance The Rapper posted: “Wow. This year was so tough. rip von God bless him and his family I can’t believe it.”
Bennett had relocated to Atlanta to escape trouble in his home city and to be part of the Atlanta’s thriving rap scene, according to NPR, which says he would occasionally return to Chicago “with wads of cash, and give them to families and kids in need”.
“He was a devoted father, a deeply loyal friend, and a man who took care of his people before himself,” his publicist said.
“We are heartbroken for his family, his friends, his team, and his fans. Long live King Von.”