On Monday (Feb. 1), news surfaced that rapper Silento, whose real name is Ricky Lamar Hawk, was arrested and charged with the shooting death of his older cousin. His publicist Chanel Hudson is now speaking out on behalf of her client and revealed that he is battling mental health issues.
“Please send my client Silento some positive vibrations,” her statement read. “Over the past several years, Ricky has been suffering immensely from a series of mental health illnesses. We will continue in his efforts of treatment, but we ask in the meantime the public uplifts him and his family in immediate prayers & positive energy!!”
Hudson continued, “Ricky is a beautiful soul and we hope that the same people who came up whippin’ and nay naying with him, continue to support him and lifted in prayer!!”
Silento, who is best known for his 2015 hit dance song, “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” was arrested and charged with fatally shooting his 34-year-old cousin Frederick Rooks, according to DeKalb County Police Department authorities who have investigated the shooting.
On Jan. 21, officers found Rooks lying on a road in an Atlanta suburb. He was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his face and leg and was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities were able to use security footage from nearby homes to capture at least one gun shot before several vehicles fled the scene.
Police later identified Silento as the suspect. “However, after a thorough investigation, DKPD detectives identified Hawk as Rooks’ cousin, and the person responsible for Rooks’ murder,” Michaela Vincent, DeKalb police spokeswoman, said. “Investigators are still working to uncover the motive for the shooting.”
The 23-year-old rapper has been charged with felony murder and is currently being held in the DeKalb jail without bond.
Check out Hudson’s full statement below.