WEST HOLLYWOOD – Deputies investigating an armed robbery in West Hollywood early Tuesday morning questioned and handcuffed rapper Wyclef Jean but released him after determining he was not a suspect.
A short time afterward, 26-year-old Torrion Falconer of Lancaster was arrested in connection with the robbery, authorities said.
The armed robbery that prompted Jean’s detainment and Falconer’s arrest was reported around 12:46 a.m. Tuesday, March 21, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“The two victims, a man and a women, reported they were standing in the parking lot of a popular store in the 8900 block of West Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood when the suspect, a male Black adult, allegedly walked up to them, pointed a firearm at them and demanded they give him everything they had,” the news release states.
“The suspect is alleged to have traumatized the two victims by pressing the firearm onto the male’s temple and pistol whipping them both. The victims, fearing for their lives, gave the suspect their possessions containing identification and money,” the news release states.
The gunman then got into an older-model gold or tan Toyota or Honda, driven by an accomplice, and it sped off, sheriff’s officials said.
The sheriff’s news release explained how deputies came to suspect rapper Wyclef Jean as the perpetrator of the crime.
“During deputies’ search for the suspects, the vehicle Mr. Jean was traveling in as a front passenger, a 2002 tan Toyota with Michigan license plates, was observed traveling … a short distance from the crime scene. Deputies followed that vehicle briefly before the vehicle pulled over… apparently reaching its intended destination,” the news release states.
“As deputies approached the vehicle, (two of) the occupants — driver and front passenger — almost simultaneously began to exit the vehicle. It was at this time that the deputies attempted to detain who they believed to be the suspect of the violent crime, Mr. Jean. Due to the violent nature of the call, (an) armed robbery; the similarity of the suspect vehicle to Mr. Jean’s vehicle; the time of day of the unfolding detention; and Mr. Jean’s furtive movements and demeanor, he was handcuffed,” the sheriff’s news release states.
“Mr. Jean was also ordered several times not to place his hands near his pockets or his waistband. Out of an abundance of caution, a pat down search for weapons was also conducted of Mr. Jean’s person, and he was subsequently secured inside the backseat of a patrol vehicle,” the news release states.
“Within approximately six minutes, deputies confirmed that Mr. Jean and the female driver were not the suspects in the armed robbery,” the news release states.
A short time later, another vehicle fitting the description of the suspect vehicle in the call was observed approximately four blocks from Wyclef Jean’s detention, sheriff’s officials said.
“That vehicle reportedly contained the suspects who are allegedly connected to the armed robbery. Deputies report that a loaded firearm was found concealed inside the vehicle, a 1995 tan/gold Acura with paper plates, and the property stolen from both victims was also recovered during the investigation, detention and subsequent arrest,” the sheriff’s news release states.
“Falconer, a 26 year-old male Black and resident of Lancaster, was arrested and booked at West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station for several charges, including robbery, former convicted felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and having a loaded firearm concealed in a vehicle,” the sheriff’s news release states.
The woman allegedly driving the getaway car used in the crime — 30-year- old Dejuan Hooper of Inglewood — was booked on suspicion of robbery and possession of a controlled substance.
Each was held on $100,000 bail.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Jean was detained for six minutes during this investigation, as he had no involvement whatsoever in this violent crime,” a sheriff’s department statement said.
Amateur footage showing Jean’s detainment made the rounds on the Internet Tuesday. Jean criticized the Los Angeles Police Department, although he actually was detained by the sheriff’s department.
View it below.