By Ashley Zimmerman
By Dana Krangel
By John Hood
By Ashley Zimmerman
By David Von Bader
By Sayre Berman
By Steve Brennan
By Ashley Zimmerman
"One of the guys walked past me wearing my hat and sunglasses," Laz recounts. "Once I confirmed it was my boat, the cops surrounded them with M16 machine guns."
Infuriated, Laz approached the hijacker wearing his hat and sunglasses. "It is piece-of-shit Cubans like you that make good Cubans look bad," Laz remembers growling.
Looking back, Laz says he would never again do something so bold. "Fuck no," he says. "No thanks, you can keep it. But at that moment, I felt so violated that I had to do something about it."
Three years later, though, he took an even bigger risk by letting Trotman stay at his house.
According to a Sunrise police report, this is what happened while Laz was flying home: On September 25, 2011, Trotman showed up at his ex-wife's house, supposedly to return her car and retrieve his clothes. When Lorenzo let him in, he pulled out Laz's gun and shot her twice. He then gunned down her mother before shooting himself in the head.
The murders were witnessed by Lorenzo's 5-year-old daughter, who then ran to a neighbor's house. In a chilling 911 call, the girl told the operator she fled out of fear that Trotman would kill her too.
When Laz returned home and confirmed Trotman had stolen his pistol, he called the Sunrise police. Shortly after midnight on September 26, he met with two homicide detectives. He told them about the missing gun and gave them the suicide verses Trotman had written, according to the police report.
As news broke that Laz's gun was the murder weapon, the Internet blew up with speculation and scathing criticism. "[Trotman's] previous court-ordered treatments for violent domestic abuse of his wife were Alcoholics Anonymous and an anger management program," one commenter wrote about a news story. "Then his dumbass friend DJ Laz lets him get a hold of his gun."
Another commenter wrote, "What I don't get is why DJ Laz opens his door to a rapper who has a domestic violence history against his wife. And to top it off leaves his guns unsecure where anyone can gain access to them."
More than a year after the tragedy, Laz still finds himself asking how it happened, but he doesn't believe the criticism is fair. The safe was locked, he says.
"What do you do when a person breaks into your safe when you're not home?" Laz says. "If Marcus didn't steal it from me, he was going to steal it from somebody else."
And though Laz doesn't regret letting Trotman stay at his house, he's been tormented by what-ifs. "Maybe if I had been home that week leading up to what happened, he would have talked to me about what he was going through," Laz says. "I asked myself, Why, why, why?"
Laz pauses, then adds, "Whatever demons he was battling took him away. It sucks all the way around, especially for the two boys and the little girl who were left without their mom and their grandmom."
Seven months after the tragedy, Laz was in Toronto opening for Pitbull when he realized with crushing certainty that he needed a change. "I had been very loyal and very comfortable at Power," he says. "Pitbull's advice was to take a chance and leave. He said I had nothing to lose."
On April 6, he resigned from his job at Power 96. The news sent shock waves through South Florida's radio scene. On New Times' music blog, Crossfade, readers reacted as if there had been a death in the family. "I will miss DJ Laz," Afi Keita James wrote. "He was Power 96." Another fan, Frances Chan, remarked, "It's tragic DJ Laz is gone."
Yet Laz wasn't hanging up his mike for good. Almost two months later, SBS announced that Laz would be the company's flagship voice in Miami and Los Angeles. Power 96 fans, feeling betrayed, reacted poisonously. "Good riddance to bad rubbish," wrote one anonymous hater. Juan Quesada, AKA DJ Luv, added, "Good luck in L.A., even though L.A. radio sucks just as bad as Miami radio."
Laz understands the bitterness but chalks it up to ignorance. "They don't understand I am splitting my time between both cities," he says. "When I tell them I am still in Miami, they'll ask me if I am still at Power. I'm like, 'No, motherfucker, I'm running my own station now.' "
It's Wednesday afternoon, about an hour after his morning broadcast on L.A.'s 96.3, and Laz is busy mixing his next morning's big segment. This time, presidential politics has nothing to do with it.
He listens as a man named John explains his predicament: His wife, Karla, has just been promoted and is getting ever more friendly with her boss. John just found a text message on her phone dedicating a song on Laz's show to the guy. John wants revenge, and Laz has just the thing: He'll call Karla, pretend to give her a gift card, and see if she sends it to her boss or to John.
"That's when I go off on her, right?" John asks.
"Yes," Laz replies. "Just remember this is playing in L.A. too. Los Angeles is a little more conservative, so be careful not to use fuck, shit, and bitch."