WASHINGTON, District of Columbia — The body of an aspiring rapper known as MC Smokinz was found last night at 9:48 sprawled between two cars in the parking lot of an assisted-living facility in the 6000 block of Connecticut Avenue in Northwest Washington.
Metropolitan Police identified the aspiring rapper as Donte Simmons, 67, of Northeast Washington. An EMS responder on the scene said there were no visible signs of injury or trauma to the body and that they would have to wait for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
The body was discovered by Lucia Garza, a manager at the facility, which provides long-term care for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other stages of dementia.
According to Ms. Garza, a woman visiting the facility was returning to her car when she saw the body, and she returned to the facility to let the staff know. Ms. Garza called police and EMS responders.
Ms. Garza said she was shocked Mr. Simmons was dead because less than an hour earlier he had been performing his weekly show at the facility, and she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. “It was his usual show, his same high-energy self,” she said.
Mr. Simmons had performed a one-hour rap show at the facility every Friday for many years, according to Ms. Garza.
“Seems like he’s been here forever. He was here before I started, and I’ve been here some like 10 years.”
Ms. Garza said the residents enjoyed the show and looked forward to Mr. Simmons performance. “They’d be up there, dancing, swinging, singing, prancing about, jumping around, making all kind of noises, just so full of life,” she said. “It’s the highlight of their week.”
“Seemed like to me he’s a good rapper,” she added, “but I only listen to Tejano groups, so I can’t really say how good he is compared to like some others, but our patients thought he’s really very good.”
According to Ms. Garza, whatever happened to Mr. Simmons must have been catastrophic. “When we found him his keys were still hanging in the door. And it looked like he’d just kind of just fell over or something.”
Ms. Garza said that a few times last year Mr. Simmons mentioned he was having some minor health issues, but she never saw any outward sign of illness.
Latiqua Brown, 37, has lived next door to Mr. Simmons in an apartment complex in Northeast Washington for over 8 year. She was also shocked Mr. Simmons had died. She said Mr. Simmons was a father of 14 and had developed several health problems over the last few years.
Ms. Brown said: “See, he’s getting his medicine from the VA, and sometimes the postman would leave his package with me if he wasn’t home. He was on some kind of medication for his heart, for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, some kind of breathing problem that I can’t pronounce, and a bad back he’d hurt in the military. And he’d take painkillers for that too.”
Ms. Brown had listened to a lot of Mr. Simmons’ rap and thought he was a very good rapper. “He’s well on his way to being a famous rapper,” she said. “He’s doing it all, everything. Putting stuff on YouTube, selling mixtapes, you know, iTunes, doing everything.”
“He’s extremely dedicated to his music. I’d put my faith that he’s going to get a big break, make it big. He can rap. Somebody must’ve been jealous. He’s always keeping me updated, letting me know when he’d be close to signing a record contract.”
She was not aware of his show at the assisted-living facility, but she thought he performed at area clubs on Friday nights.
Willie Leroy Washington covers news in the Mid-Atlantic region.
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