TORONTO – Canadian rapper Drake has broken his silence on a deadly shooting at an official after-party for his music festival OVO Fest 10 days ago.
In a statement posted to his website, October’s Very Own, he said he has been in a “moral bind” because his advisers and lawyers worried that anything he said could be misinterpreted, but he is “choosing to follow (his) heart.”
Two people were killed and three others were injured after shots were fired Aug. 4 at the crowded Muzik nightclub in downtown Toronto.
Drake writes that his “deepest condolences” go out to the families of Ariela Navarro-Fenoy, 26, and Duvel Hibbert, 23, who were killed in the shooting.
“The last few days I have been in a moral bind,” he begins in his blog post.
“I am used to the fact that my life and the things I say to my fans are closely watched.”
He laments the “violence that continues to escalate” in his hometown of Toronto and says it is Torontonians’ “public responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of one another.”
At a news conference earlier in the week, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders was repeatedly asked about Drake (whose real name is Aubrey Graham), who declined to single out any one person who wasn’t helping with the investigation.
He said investigators have received very little information from the thousands of people who were at the club that night who may have seen something. Saunders said he wanted people to “do the right thing” and talk to police.
“I know that when people talk, people are less likely to pull out guns because they know that if people talk they are going to go to jail.”
It remains unclear whether Drake was in the club when the shooting began around 3 a.m., where Hibbert was gunned down inside Muzik in a targeted attack.
Police have refused to answer that question and Drake didn’t address it in his blog post.
Navarro-Fenoy was an innocent bystander, according to the chief, when she was shot and killed outside about a block away. Her family has demanded answers and also asked Drake to speak out.
“I stare into the eyes of so many young people and I wish to see them all shine as bright as they possibly can in this lifetime,” Drake wrote.
“I encourage my generation to show as much value and gratitude as you can for the lives we have been gifted. My deepest condolences go out to the Navarro-Fenoy and Hibbert families for their loss of Ariela and Duvel.”
Police said they are looking for two suspects in the shootings.
“I pray for better times and better understanding,” Drake wrote at the end of his statement.