PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — Prince George's County Police Department (PGPD) is investigating a shooting that happened Friday in District Heights that left a rap artist from the DMV area dead.
Police identified the person killed in a statement as 24-year-old Markelle Morrow. WUSA9 confirmed with Morrow's family, that the District Heights native, known to fans as "Goonew," is a talented rap artist.
Officers found Goonew suffering from gunshot wounds around 5:45 p.m. Friday in a parking lot on the 2400 block of Walters Lane. He was taken to the hospital and was pronounced dead, a PGPD statement says.
WUSA9 spoke to Goonew's family Saturday about the impact the artist had on his family and the community.
"I don't believe this," his mother, Patrice Parker Morrow said, looking at images of her late son. "I really don't. My baby's gone."
Parker Morrow was surrounded by her daughters, all of whom were grief-stricken.
“All he wanted to do is try to get his family out the hood,” Parker Morrow said. “He had a heart bigger than his body, when they took him, they took me.”
Goonew was killed blocks away from the neighborhood where he was born. His mother says he was killed when he was on his way to give his sister a birthday gift, but never made it.
“I heard ... screaming that Markelle got shot down the street and my daughter ran straight out and I couldn't move I this was shaking really bad my mouth starts shivering really bad," Parker Morrow said. "I just couldn't move for a long long time.”
In the parking lot where he was shot, a memorial sits. Goonew's mother says it was ultimately a bullet to the back that killed him.
“They wanted my son dead because he gave it up. They took his chain. They took his watch. He gave it up and they still shot him in his back,” Parker Morrow said.
The Washington Post described Goonew's artistry, saying the rapper "seemed to understand that time is not uniform, and he proved it with astonishing style, his nuanced flows becoming closely associated with the DMV, influencing rappers in neighboring Zip codes and overseas."
Goonew told Vice News in an interview he started rapping in 2017. He has an average of 35,500 monthly Spotify listeners, more than 158,000 Instagram followers, and three of his music videos respectively have about 1 million views on YouTube.
PGPD is still looking for anyone connected to Goonew's death and is offering a $25,000 reward for information that can possibly lead to an arrest or conviction.
Anyone with information about the shooting should call detectives at 301-516-2512. People can also call the Prince George's County Crime Solvers with anonymous tips at 1-866-411-8477.
Goonew's mother has a message for her son's killed.
“I forgive you," she said. They took my son, hope they got what they wanted.”