An East Bay rapper known by the stage name "The Jacka" was shot dead in East Oakland while rapping with friends in a van and enjoying the evening, according to a friend.
"He was just making music," Reggie Grant, who described himself as Jacka's "godbrother," told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday morning, adding that from his perspective his longtime friend could not have been the intended target.
"Bullets don't have no name. I don't know who did it," the 51-year-old said. "He had problems with nobody. He'd give you his shoes off his feet. He gave jobs to lots of people."
Oakland police officer Johnna Watson confirmed that the victim of the Monday night shooting was 37-year old rapper Dominic Newton also known as “The Jacka,” whose latest release is called "What Happened to the World."
Newton converted to Islam as a youth and also went by Shaheed Akbar before getting his rapping nickname that he earned during a one-year prison stint for carjacking.
The fatal shooting was reported at 8:15 p.m. at 94th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard by a U-Save power equipment shot and Clark's Home and Garden landscape supply center.
As Grant told it, there were about seven or eight people rapping in a van Monday evening, and the Jacka was outside on the sidewalk when the bullets flew.
"Everyone was enjoying the night, just enjoying life," he said.
Grant, who lives across the street, heard the gunshots in the middle of the impromptu jam session, and saw that "The Jacka" got hit with a bullet wound to the head. A neighbor held a towel to his head.
"I could see him take his last breath," Grant said, adding that his friend leaves behind a wife and children.
Grant said that "The Jacka" had no criminal background that he knew of and did not do or sell drugs.
However in a 2005 Bay Area News Group article, the up-and-coming rapper said he was trying to overcome a rough life; his mother had him when she was 14, his father was in prison for 15 years and he himself served a prison stint after being convicted in 2000 for grand theft and armed robbery. At 18, the young rapper said he was the youngest inmate being held in the Martinez Detention Facility. It was there, he told the newspaper, that he earned his nickname, "The Jacka" referring to his charges of carjacking and stealing.
And two weeks ago on Instagram, someone posted from his account, Jacakmobfigaz, a photo of him carrying bags of marijuana that he said he bought at a medical cannabis club in San Francisco, urging his friends to buy "some tree."
Social media lit up with the hashtag #RIPJacka, with fans mourning his death. "They took a cool dude from us last night! #RIPJacka," Chris Riggins tweeted. NBA All-Star Damian Lillard called him an "Oakland legend."
Newton is originally from Pittsburg and began his rap career in the late 1990s as a member of Mob Figaz. He also owned his own label, The Artist Records.
The killing was the 11th in the city of 400,000 so far this year.
NBC Bay Area's Kristofer Noceda, Shawn Murphy and Alan Waples, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.