Fort Worth

Father, artist, rapper killed in shooting ‘had so much potential,’ friends say

Caleb Sims
Caleb Sims Courtesy photo

Caleb Sims was an musical artist, and he had his best performance at CLTR Fest last Friday, friends said.

The Snapchats of his set made their way down to Austin, where Alex Mayo of Free Label Network watched with pride.

“I saw the snaps and thought, ‘That’s the best I’ve ever seen Caleb perform,’ “ Mayo said. “A lot of people doubted him, and it’s just crazy ironic how his last night to live was his best performance.”

About 19 hours later, Sims would be shot multiple times as he sat in a white car in the 4800 block of Eagle Trace Drive. A resident of the area, who didn’t want to be identified for safety purposes, said that two cars were parked near each other and there was a black bag on the ground. Someone went to grab the bag, and the shooting started.

The car Sims was sitting in was riddled with bullets, the neighbor said. The driver, who hasn’t been identified, stopped near a Dairy Queen about a half-mile away on Beach Street and dialed 911.

Sims and another unidentified man were taken to the hospital.

Sims died there.

The Fort Worth Police Department hasn’t released any details on the shooting other than confirming that it occurred. As of Wednesday, no one has been jailed in the shooting.

Alex Mayo and Quincey Okafor, Mayo’s partner at Free Label Network in Dallas, knew Sims as a man with grand goals and limitless potential. They said they met him about five years ago and he started working with Free Label with another group of musicians.

“That group dissolved, everyone else quit, but Caleb was the one that was still motivated to keep going,” Mayo said. “He had a vision and kept going.”

Soon, Sims’ interests went beyond his music.

“When he first started working with us, he was rapping,” Mayo said. “He was basically just an artist but from there he started taking on more responsibilities and doing stuff behind the scenes. He was helping put together events and he was creating his own brand with the opportunities he was given. I admired that a lot.”

“The Dallas music scene, it’s very big right now,” Okafor added. “We’re just a huge hub of talented people and it’s rare that you find people like Caleb who just support everyone. He always had a positive energy.”

When news spread that Sims was killed, hundreds of people flooded Twitter and other social media with condolences and memories of the man known musically as SLVMP CEE.

“I’m not sure how many lives have to be lost before gun violence is taken seriously,” one woman said. “Rest in paradise Caleb Sims.”

“Everybody got the exact SAME story about him,” another woman wrote. “He would literally go out of his way to support and show genuine love to the entire scene. That’s the reason I always tried to show love and put him on. He didn’t deserve to go out like this!”

Sims, 24, was the father of a young girl. He was from Mansfield and could be seen wearing his “Legacy Football” sweatshirt in photos.

One man on Twitter said he played basketball with Sims in high school.

His death — and the cause — came as a surprise to Mayo and Okafor, who tried to make sure Sims stayed on a clear path.

“Caleb was at a point in his life where he was very easily influenced, and that’s a good thing and a bad thing,” Mayo said. “There were some people at Free Label influencing him in a business way, but he was a rapper as well, so he always had a lot of access to street culture. He came from Mansfield, we all graduated from Mansfield. Everyone knows it’s a middle- to upper-class area. No one needs to deal drugs. But everyone glorifies hip hop and glorifies what it talks about, he got caught up in it.”

Mayo said the shooting was related to a drug deal gone bad, but said Sims wasn’t a part of it. A family member of Sims went to the shooting scene the next day and asked neighbors if they saw what happened. She told them that Sims didn’t tend to hang around with problematic people.

A call to Sims’ father wasn’t immediately returned on Wednesday.

“I checked up on him on Friday and he was in good spirits,” Okafor said. “It’s just sad because he had a very bright future ahead of him. The fact that he used Free Label correctly and how he developed his brand, how he learned to network, the kid had so much potential.”

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Nichole Manna is an investigative reporter for the Star-Telegram. Before moving to Fort Worth in July 2018, she covered crime and breaking news in Tennessee, North Carolina, Nebraska and Kansas. She is a 2012 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and grew up in Florida.