Veeno Gunna aka Vincent Saunders was shot dead in his native St. Louis on January 6. He was 35 years old. Gunna was killed at the intersection of South Broadway and Chippewa in South St. Louis at around 3:30 p.m., according to the local Fox affiliate. The station says that Gunna was shot once in the chest. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police have said that the suspect in the shooting is 42 but have not named him. Authorities have described the investigation as “active.” Gunna’s friends told NBC St. Louis
that on the day he was killed, the rapper was trying to help his niece who was having troubles with a man who had been “pestering” her. Police have not said if Gunna previously knew his assailant.
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Said Gunna Punched the Gunman & the Shooting Was Retalition
KMOV reports that Gunna got into an argument on the street with another man. That argument resulted in Gunna punching the other man. The other man then pulled out a gun and opened fire on Gunna, fatally wounding him.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Gunna was found by paramedics outside of a bank while the gunman fled in another direction. The Post-Dispatch report adds that surveillance footage from a nearby Moto Mart may provide key information in the case. That video is now in the possession of the police.
CBS St. Louis said that several young women were involved in the confrontation with the 42-year-old man who is accused of shooting Gunna.
Gunna’s Producer Described the Rapper Has ‘Everything You Need to Become a Successful Artist’
Speaking to NBC St. Louis, Gunna’s producer Jay E. said the slain rapper “had the star qualities, he had everything that you need nowadays to become a successful artist.” Jay E. added, “His verse on the song was just extraordinary.” Jay E. producer St. Louis rapper Nelly’s breakout hit, “Country Grammar.”
Gunna’s friend, Eric Bothazy, who performed with Gunna as Rhyme Royals, told NBC St. Louis, “That’s why we called him Gunna because he had that ta,ta,ta,ta,ta, just chopping… My heart just dropped instantly and immediately my first thought was, “Let me call his mother,” and I think that was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.” Bothazy said of the shooting, “There was some confrontation with words some punches were exchanged and he got shot by the gentleman I’m assuming he got into a confrontation with.” Bothazy also spoke about a social media that appears to show Gunna being shot, “It hurt me deeply to see him fall and to see him scoot back and get up and hold his chest.” Bothazy added that he will release Gunna’s unreleased tracks in order to keep the rapper’s memory alive.
In a separate interview with CBS St. Louis, Bothazy said, “He was a great individual, everywhere he went he had an infectious personality. Everybody would know that’s Veeno right there, that’s the humble giant, get ready for the bear hug, here it comes.”
Also speaking with NBC St. Louis was Gunna’s friend, Kelvin Ellison, who said he was introduced to the rapper 18 years ago through a mutual friend. Ellison said, “Music just brought us all closer together. It was bigger than just music but an ongoing friendship. He did everything. He rapped, he’s a songwriter, networker big time.”
Gunna Is Survived by a 16-Month-Old Son
Bothazy told CBS St. Louis that Gunna is survived by a 16-month old son, Vincent Jr. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help provide support for Vincent Jr. That tribute page describes Gunna as “not only a talented artist, but also a wonderful friend who could light up a room with his smile, and could warm the coldest souls with his infectious personality.”
Bothazy added that Gunna had “worked hard to be involved in his son’s life.” On his Twitter bio, Gunna wrote, “I am one of the hottest artist and producers out here follow me and see for yourself.” Gunna adds that he was born in East St. Louis but was raised in St. Louis. The day before his death, Gunna posted an Instagram photo showing him in the studio editing his work.
Gunna’s Life Is Being Mourned by Fans & Collaborators Alike
As news of Gunna’s death spreads, his fans, friends and his collaborators have taken to social media to celebrate his life. Here are some of the most poignant messages: