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How Cops Tracked Down Suspects

by Ohio Digital News

When celebrated Philadelphia rapper PnB Rock was gunned down inside a Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles in South Los Angeles last year, speculation about the shooter – and his getaway driver – exploded online.

Now, in legal documents obtained by Rolling Stone, new details have emerged in the slaying and how the suspects allegedly led investigators to their door with a bumbling coverup.

PnB Rock’s murder robbed the world of a talented rapper whose melodic flow straddled hip-hop and R&B, leading Rolling Stone to name him a New Artist You Need To Know in 2016 and rocketing him to crossover stardom with his 2019 feature on Ed Sheeran’s “Cross Me.” As previously reported, the “Middle Child” rapper, born Rakim Allen, was eating at the restaurant with his girlfriend Stephanie Sibounheuang on September 12, 2022, when a gunman walked in, demanded the 30-year-old musician’s jewelry, fired the fatal shots and fled in a Buick Enclave.

Weeks later, police arrested a 17-year-old shooting suspect as well as his dad and stepmom. Authorities allege the juvenile pulled the trigger, but they also charged the dad with murder too, casting him as the mastermind of the deadly robbery. They claim the stepmom was an accessory after the fact.

As the case heads into a key hearing Monday, a previously unreported transcript — taken from a probable cause hearing held in a Compton courthouse last April for suspects Freddie Lee Trone, 41, and his wife Shauntel Trone, 39, who have pleaded not guilty — Rolling Stone is now revealing a comprehensive new timeline. Here are the top takeaways from the 123-page transcript:

Police Say Freddie Lee Trone Attempted to Torch and Ditch the Getaway Car – Just Two Blocks From His Home, Hours After the Shooting

In the most surprising detail to come out of the transcript, authorities claim Freddie Lee Trone attempted to destroy the alleged getaway car when he purportedly lit his wife’s Buick Enclave on fire and fled the scene of the alleged arson in the predawn hours of Sept. 13, 2022. LAPD Officer Matthew Clark testified that surveillance video from the apartment building where Freddie lived with Shauntel shows him leaving the premises and walking along 141st Place in Gardena, Calif., dressed in all black with gloves on his hands at 2:28 a.m. the day after the murder.

The video purportedly shows Freddie manipulating something in his hands and the Enclave’s taillights activating before he gets into the vehicle, the officer testified. Less than 20 minutes later, at 2:45 a.m., a caller reported the vehicle being on fire at 139th Street near Budlong Ave., two blocks from the Trones’ building. A melted gas canister was found at the scene. Clark said Shauntel told police her car must have been stolen, but there was no broken glass where she claimed it was last parked, and the vehicle showed no signs of forced entry. (Police previously said the suspect vehicle caught on cameras outside Roscoe’s was a black Buick Enclave.)

Freddie Lee Trone Allegedly Had Burns on his Forearm and Legs after the Suspected Arson

Officer Clark said that when he interviewed Shauntel two weeks after the murder, on September 27, 2022, she admitted Freddie had injuries consistent with someone involved in an act of arson. “She observed that Freddie had sustained burns to his forearm and legs,” the officer testified. “She took him to receive medical care.”

The Alleged Teen Gunman Purportedly Used a Toothbrush To Clean PnB Rock’s “New Lane” Pendant in Kitchen

During her interview with police, Shauntel Trone claimed that the day of the murder, she saw her stepson using a toothbrush to clean a piece of jewelry in her kitchen, Officer Clark testified. Shauntel allegedly described the piece as having a large “L” and a large “A,” the investigators said. It was later determined that the piece of jewelry was PnB Rock’s diamond-encrusted pendant paying homage to his label, New Lane Entertainment, Clark testified. Shauntel also reported that a couple days after the murder, she saw the teen wearing the gold rope chain that previously attached to the pendant, the officer said. She further told police that the teen was not welcome at the apartment because she previously had found him with multiple pieces of her own jewelry in his pockets, Clark said.

Freddie Lee Trone Allegedly Visited the Roscoe’s While PnB Rock Was Inside, Spoke with People Outside, Left and then Returned with His Son

PnB Rock and Sibounheuang walked into Roscoe’s around 12:30 p.m. the day of the murder, Officer Clark testified, citing surveillance video. About a half hour later, a different camera recorded a Buick Enclave entering the parking lot, the officer testified. Freddie Lee Trone allegedly exited the vehicle, walked over and conversed with a group of men before reversing out of the parking lot a few minutes later. According to Officer Clark, the Buick Enclave reappeared a short time later, driving “slowly” in a southbound lane bordering the Roscoe’s lot. Several seconds after that, the alleged teen gunman is caught on video wearing a purple shirt with a Nike swoosh and entering Roscoe’s at 1:16 p.m.

Not once during the preliminary hearing did the prosecutor or witnesses mention the Instagram post that Sibounheuang shared on her profile with a geotag revealing the couple’s stop at Roscoe’s. While some previously speculated that the post alerted the gunman to the rapper’s location, testimony at the hearing focused on the allegation that Freddie Lee Trone spoke with people outside the restaurant before returning with his son. After the deadly shooting, the gunman was captured on video running out to the parking lot and climbing into the Buick Enclave, Officer Clark testified.

When Dealer Plates Led Investigators to a Used Car Lot Two Days After the Murder, They Learned Freddie and Shauntel Trone Had Visited Earlier That Same Day To Buy a New Car

Officer Clark testified that a surveillance camera on a church around the corner from the Roscoe’s captured the Buick Enclave with a paper license plate from a used car dealership. Investigators visited the dealership two days after the murder, on Sept. 14, 2022, and learned that Shauntel Trone purchased the vehicle in 2021, Clark told the court. The owner of the dealership also purportedly told investigators that Shauntel and Freddie Lee Trone had visited the dealership again that day, just hours before investigators, to buy a Jeep Cherokee. The owner said Shauntel told him that her Buick had been stolen and burned, so she needed a replacement, Clark testified.

Shauntel Told Police Freddie’s Actions Made Her ‘Suspicious,’ But She Denies Being Accessory

When cops knocked on the Trones’ door the morning of Sept. 13, 2022 to report Shauntel’s vehicle had been set on fire less than a quarter mile away, Freddie allegedly told her to conceal the fact he was home. “When she received notification at the door from Gardena P.D., she advised Freddie of the fact that police were there. Freddie apparently told her to not advise that he was there,” Officer Clark testified, citing Shauntel’s statement to police. Shauntel also reported that Freddie and his son “had been whispering throughout the day, (and) that she was suspicious of that,” the officer said.

Investigators later searched Shauntel’s phone and found a text message Freddie sent at 4:25 a.m. the day after the murder saying he had to leave because “it has to cool down,” Officer Clark told the court. Shauntel’s defense lawyer argued during the hearing that his client is innocent. “Ms. Trone has nothing to do with this crime. She is almost a victim. Her car was used without her knowledge in a murder and a robbery,” defense lawyer Robin Yanes told the court, according to the transcript.

The Alleged Teen Shooter Was Released From Juvenile Hall Just Four Days Before The Murder

The 17-year-old boy who allegedly killed PnB Rock had been arrested on September 3, 2022, for a separate incident involving possession of a firearm at a park “in which a use of force occurred,” Officer Clark testified. He said that after Freddie Lee Trone was taken into custody himself, he told police that he picked his son up from Eastlake Juvenile Hall on September 8, 2022, just four days before the murder at Roscoe’s. “Mr. Freddie Trone stated that he is always having problems with (his son),” the officer told the court.

As PnB Rock Was Dying in His Girlfriend’s Arms, the Gunman Threatened to Shoot Her in Head


Yet another investigator testified that Sibounheuang told police she was holding her mortally wounded boyfriend on the floor of Roscoe’s when the masked shooter turned his gun on her and demanded she show her hands. “Give me that shit now or I’ll shoot you in the head,” the gunman demanded, according to testimony from LAPD Detective Nancy Doster. Sibounheuang, who shared a young daughter with PnB Rock, said the armed assailant demanded, “Give me all your jewelry now!” before he “immediately started shooting,” Det. Doster said. “The shooting happened immediately. (PnB Rock) had no time to react or say anything,” Det. Doster testified, citing the interview with Sibounheuang. The terrified girlfriend, who previously revealed PnB Rock threw her under the table as bullets started flying, said she removed her watch and handed it over while the killer removed PnB’s rings, two watches and three necklaces before fleeing, Det. Doster said.

On Monday, Shauntel’s defense lawyer is expected to argue a motion asking the court to reverse its April 18, 2023 finding at the probable cause hearing that there’s enough evidence to warrant sending her to trial.

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