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Roderick Burton, 21

Roderick Burton, 21

Died May 18, 2009 at 3:39 p.m.

Roderick Anthony Burton II, a 21-year-old black man, was shot in the head and killed on Monday, May 18, in the 8500 block of Beverly Boulevard in Beverly Grove, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Burton, an Atlanta-based rapper best-known by his stage name Dolla, was shot about 3:10 p.m. while standing in the valet waiting area of the Beverly Center mall.

Witnesses told authorities that the gunman fled in a Mercedes SUV.

Hours later Los Angeles police arrested Aubrey Louis Berry, 23, of Atlanta at Los Angeles International Airport. Police said he had what they believe was the gun that killed Burton tucked in his waistband when he was detained.

Berry has been charged with Burton's murder. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment on May 22.

Authorities said the shooting may have stemmed from an altercation between Berry and Burton earlier in the month at an Atlanta strip club.

Burton was an up-and-coming rapper who had recorded several singles. He was in town to work on his first album, slated to be released this summer on Jive Records, said Dolla's publicist, Sue Vannasing.

Berry’s attorney, Howard R. Price, said his client shot the rapper in self-defense.

"At worst it's a manslaughter case; at best it's a case of self-defense," he told The Times.

— Sam Quinones, Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton

Photos:

Top: Dolla aka Roderick Anthony Burton II arrives at the 21st annual Soul Train Music Awards held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on March 10, 2007, in Pasadena. Credit: AP Photo / Kirklandem

Bottom: Aubrey Louis Berry appears in court Wednesday in the killing of Dolla, the stage name of Roderick Anthony Burton II. Berry remains in custody on $5-million bail on one count of murder and two counts of assault with a firearm. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times


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