Rap mogul Marion ‘Suge’ Knight likely to survive latest shooting
Death Row Records founder shot at pre-MTV awards party in Los Angeles nightclub
Rap impresario Marion "Suge" Knight, founder of Death Row Records, is likely to survive being shot inside a packed Los Angeles nightclub at a party hosted by singer Chris Brown, doctors say.
Knight was shot twice early on Sunday along with two others.
Knight's family called for prayers for the mogul. "The family of Suge Knight asks that you keep Suge in your prayers and to stay away from the negativity portrayed by the media," the family said in a statement. "Suge is currently resting and has lost a lot of blood."
Knight, who has a long history of run-ins with the law, has been shot before. In 2005, he was struck in the leg during an MTV awards pre-party in Miami Beach.
In 1996, he was at the wheel of a BMW in Las Vegas when passenger and popular rapper Tupac Shakur was fatally wounded by gunmen in another vehicle. Shakur died a week later, and the case has not been solved.
Gunfire erupted inside the cavernous 1 OAK club on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood at about 1.30am on Sunday as Brown was performing at the pre-MTV Video Music Awards party. Sheriff's deputies quickly descended on the venue, but the gunman managed to escape.
"I was about to leave, and all of a sudden I heard gunshots," said one witness, who did not want to be identified. "I saw a bunch of people running out. I ran out with them ... The cops had their guns drawn towards the doors."
Knight, 49, managed to walk out of the club and was helped into a sheriff's vehicle, where he remained until an ambulance arrived, authorities said. He was then taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, where he underwent surgery.
An unidentified man and woman who were also wounded in the shooting were taken to area hospitals, authorities said. Their conditions were not immediately known, but they were both expected to recover.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said it was too early to say whether Knight was the intended target. "At this point we're still collecting forensics and doing interviews," said Nicole Inside, a spokeswoman. But law enforcement sources said a preliminary investigation suggested that Sunday's shooting was probably connected to gang rivalries and Knight's connections with the Bloods gang operating in the Compton suburb of Los Angeles.
They said several known members of the Blood gangs were present at the party.
Detectives are reviewing video footage of the event to see if they can identify the shooter.
West Hollywood Mayor John Damao denounced the attack.
"This was just a regular night of fun on the Sunset Strip, and it was disrupted by criminals," Damao said.
Several party-goers posted clips on Twitter and Instagram showing revellers inside the club ducking before running for the doors. Brown, who was performing when the shooting started, tweeted: "It's disappointing that we as a society can't have fun or enjoy ourselves without any altercations sometimes."
Knight co-founded Death Row with Dr Dre in 1991 and built it into the first rap label to consistently dominate the pop scene.
In 1997, he was sentenced to nine years in prison for violating the terms of his probation from an earlier assault case. Freed in 2001, he was back inside two years later for violating parole.