Captured Toronto rapper Top5 wanted revenge for brother's murder, U.S. Attorney says
TORONTO -- The Toronto rapper who was wanted for murder before he was arrested earlier this month in Los Angeles is a member of a criminal gang who organized a botched hit trying to target his brother's killer, according to documents unsealed in an American extradition hearing.
U.S. authorities say Top5, whose real name is Hassan Ali, is a member of something called the “Go Getem Gang”, and say that explains his alleged involvement in the shooting death of an innocent man, 20-year-old Hashim Omar Hashi, an accounting student gunned down outside his parking lot back in January.
“Ali is a member of a violent Canadian street gang. Canada has charged him with the cold-blooded murder of Hashim Hashi,” a filing by the U.S. Attorney’s office in the United States District Court for the Central District of California reads.
Hashi was murdered “because he happened to live in the rival gang’s turf," the filing says. He was mistaken for the person the shooters believed was the killer of Ali’s brother, Said Ali, known as “Foolish”, in 2017, the court filing says.
“Ali subsequently discussed killing people in retaliation for his brother’s death on public social media posts, including one less than three days before the murder,” the filing says, adding that Ali is not suspected of being the shooter, but being a passenger in the same vehicle.
Ali is now in custody in California. He was initially charged with accessory to murder, and when the charge was upgraded to first-degree murder in May, he is alleged to have cut his GPS tracking bracelet and fled to the U.S. using false documents.
Since then, he taunted authorities, proclaimed his innocence via live videos on his social media accounts, and tried to launch new music videos.
That’s one way the Los Angeles Police Department was able to track him down, a filing says: “Based on social media postings, American law enforcement believes that Ali is in the LA area with an individual who is wanted by American law enforcement in relation to a separate homicide.”
Ali does reference the “Go Getem Gang” in his music, and also his brother, including lines saying the last person “that dissed Foolish, he got bodied.”
But the names of these gangs can be ephemeral, said Dr. Anthony Hutchinson, who works with Toronto-area gang members. The inclusion of lyrics and social media posts as evidence can be factual, but it can also be posturing or fictional, he said.
“When we watch a lot of these music videos, they’re generally talking about their literal life experience and their lived reality,” he said.
“When you throw in gangs on top of these murders, that has a higher level of threshold of attention from the courts and from the media,’ he said.
Hashi was shot just before 9 a.m. on January 31, 2021. Video surveillance shows a gunman rush from the front passenger side of a black Honda Civic towards the entrance of a North York parking lot.
The American court filing says that Civic circled around the building for approximately 10 minutes, before crossing paths with Hashi’s vehicle, and following it to the parking lot.
U.S. authorities didn’t identify the shooter or the driver, but they say more surveillance video allowed Toronto Police officers to track the car and determine that there was a third man in the rear of the vehicle, who they allege was Ali.
The lawyers who have represented Ali in Toronto told CTV News Toronto they are not retained, and Ali’s public defender in the California court did not return calls.
Canada has 45 days from the date of Ali’s arrest to submit a full extradition request, a spokesperson for Canada’s Department of Justice said.
None of the charges have been proven in court.