Rapper Silento indicted on murder charge in cousin’s shooting death

Ricky Lamar Hawk, a.k.a. Silento, was indicted on murder and other charges.

Credit: DeKalb County Sheriff's Office

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Ricky Lamar Hawk, a.k.a. Silento, was indicted on murder and other charges.

Credit: DeKalb County Sheriff's Office

A grand jury has indicted an Atlanta-area rapper on four felony charges, including malice murder, formally accusing him of shooting his cousin to death earlier this year, according to DeKalb County court records.

The four-count bill of indictment, which was submitted in Superior Court on Aug. 3, charges Ricky Lamar Hawk with felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Hawk, who performs as Silento, has been in jail since February after authorities linked him to the fatal shooting of 34-year-old Frederick Rooks, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

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Rooks’ body was discovered Jan. 21 lying in the road outside a home in the Panthersville area. He had gunshot wounds to his face and leg, and investigators found eight shell casings lying nearby, according to a police report.

Responding officers were able to gather video from several nearby security cameras, according to the report. The video showed multiple cars leave the scene at high speeds, and the footage captured at least one gunshot. Authorities have not released a motive in the deadly shooting.

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Hawk, a graduate of Redan High School in DeKalb, rose to fame as a teenage rap sensation in 2015. A video for his hit single “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” has been viewed more than 1.8 billion times on YouTube.

After its release, he told the AJC that he put the song on YouTube to prove his doubters wrong after losing his high school talent show. He released his first album, “Fresh Outta High School,” in August 2018, several years after the meteoric rise of “Watch Me.”

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The rapper ran into trouble multiple times in the months leading up to his murder arrest. He was arrested twice in one week in August of last year on domestic violence and gun charges in California. And in late October, he was booked into the DeKalb jail on charges that he was driving more than 140 mph on I-85. According to a police report, he told officers that he was speeding because people were following him.

A representative for Hawk told the AJC he has a history of mental health issues. He remains in the DeKalb County Jail without bond.

— Staff writers Henri Hollis, Shaddi Abusaid and Chelsea Prince contributed to this article.