LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A rapper known as Big Paybacc has been shot to death north of Los Angeles by an attacker who walked into a fast-food restaurant and fired at him several times from close range with a handgun, police said on Friday.
The shooting on Thursday afternoon in Palmdale, a community about 35 miles (56 km) north of Los Angeles, occurred with about 15 guests inside the fast-food restaurant, where the rapper was eating lunch, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Deputy Guillermina Saldana.
"It appears to detectives that the victim was the intended target of the suspect and that this was not a random shooting," Saldana said.
The Sheriff's Department identified the person shot inside the fast-food restaurant as 38-year-old Habeeb Ameer Zekajj, who according to local media is the rapper named Big Paybacc. His popular music videos on YouTube include "Gangsta Luv" and "I'm Frum Gangstaz."
Comments posted to social media after Zekajj's death paid tribute to him. "Rest in peace," the hip-hop website Global Grind said on its Twitter page.
Sheriff's deputies found Zekajj in the fast-food restaurant with multiple gunshot wounds, Saldana said. Local media reported the shooting occurred at a McDonald's, but Saldana declined to confirm that.
Detectives are looking for the shooter, she said.
Jessica Jefferson, a woman who identified herself as the rapper's girlfriend, told local television station CBS2 that he had three children.
"He's a good rapper, and he has so many followers and people who stand behind him. He really is a good, solid person," Jefferson told the station.(This version of the story has been corrected to change name of hip-hop website to Global Grind, instead of Global Gring, in paragraph 5)
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Eric Beech)