On April 1, 1984, at their house in the West Adams, Gaye was shot twice following an altercation with his father after he intervened in an argument between his parents. In the days prior to his death, Gaye’s parents had arguments mainly over a misplaced insurance policy letter.
The day before his death, the arguments spread to Gaye’s bedroom. Angered by his father confronting his mother, Gaye commanded Marvin Sr. to leave her alone. At approximately 12:30 p.m. on April 1, 1984, an impatient Marvin Gay Sr. shouted at his wife about the document. Gaye, shouted back downstairs, telling his father if he had something to say, he should do it in person.
According to Alberta, when Marvin Sr. refused his son’s request, Gaye warned him not to come to his room. Marvin Sr., however, instead charged upstairs to the bedroom to verbally attack Alberta over the document, causing Gaye to jump out of his bed and once again order his father out of the room. When ordering did not work, Gaye, enraged, reportedly shoved his father out of the room into the hallway then began kicking and punching him.
Minutes later, at 12:38 p.m. Marvin Gay Sr. entered his bedroom, returning with the 38 pistol his son had earlier bought him, pointed it at Gaye and shot him directly in the heart.