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California Rapper Fatally Shot In Van On Highway 71

KANSAS CITY (AP) – A San Francisco Bay area underground rap star, who police say was also a member of a gang of robbers, was killed when a gunman shot into a van in which he was riding.

Andre Hicks, 34, known as Mac Dre, was killed about 3:30 a.m. yesterday when another vehicle pulled up beside the driver’s side of the van he was in on Highway 71 and began shooting, police said.

The van swerved across the highway median, across the southbound lanes and down a steep embankment. Hicks was thrown from the van, but police said he died from the shooting.

The driver crawled from the wreckage and walked for help.

Hicks had performed at a concert in Kansas City, Kan., Friday night and stayed in the area during the weekend.

Police were trying to determine a motive, Capt. Vince Cannon said. Witnesses did not hear Hicks arguing with anyone, and officers do not believe the shooting stemmed from road rage, Cannon said.

Hicks recorded more than a dozen albums, with the first released in 1989.

In the early 1990s, police began investigating Hicks and several associates who were suspected of being members of the Vallejo, Calif.’s Romper Room Gang, which was suspected in a string of bank and business robberies.

Hicks eventually was charged in federal court with conspiracy to commit bank robbery after he and several others were arrested while preparing to rob a bank.

"We were on his tail for a long time," Vallejo police Lt. Rick Nichelman said.

Hicks recorded raps mocking law enforcement, often naming specific officers, including Nichelman, who was a lead investigator on the case.

Nichelman said some of the lyrics reportedly were recorded over the phone while Hicks was in jail awaiting sentencing.

Hicks was released from prison in 1996.

Hicks was the second California rap artist fatally shot in Kansas City this year, police said. Ramone C. Davis, 31, of San Diego died March 22 when a man tried to rob him of 10 pounds of marijuana, police said. A 27-year-old Kansas City man was charged in the case.