Death Row Records founder and rap mogul Marion ‘Suge’ Knight was shot and injured in a packed Los Angeles nightclub early Sunday, but he was expected to survive, a County sheriff’s sergeant said.
Knight was one of three club patrons struck by gunfire around 1.30am at 1OAK on West Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard, said Sgt. C. Tatar, watch commander at the Los Angeles County sheriff’s West Hollywood station.
Two other victims, a man and a woman, were taken to the hospital for treatment and were expected to survive.
Authorities are still seeking a suspect and declined to release additional information, citing the ongoing investigation.
The shooting came just hours before MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) in Inglewood on Sunday evening. R&B singer Chris Brown, who was co-hosting a party at the nightclub with Pia Mia, was also inside the club but not hit by the gunfire, Tatar said.
“This incident did not involve Chris; he was merely the host of the event,” the singer’s representative said in a statement. “He has and will continue to cooperate with the investigation.”
MTV said it had no affiliation or connection to the event. Calls to the club rang unanswered.
Laura Coverson, a spokeswoman for Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, said she could not confirm reports that Knight was being treated there because of strict medical privacy laws.
Knight has been shot before. In 2005, he was struck in the leg during an MTV awards pre-party in Miami Beach.
Knight’s genius for poaching up-and-coming talent helped him land and make megastars out of Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre and shifted the centre of the rap universe to the West Coast in the 1990s.
Knight formed a separate artist management company before co-founding Death Row Records in 1991 with Dr Dre, who had broken with popular Compton rap group N.W.A.
Dr Dre’s solo debut album, The Chronic, became one of the most profitable and influential rap albums of the 1990s. It also made a star of Dr Dre’s underling, Snoop Dogg, whose debut album Doggystyle was also widely popular.
Knight, however, has been in and out of jail over the past two decades because of parole violations and physical attacks relating to a “rap war” he fuelled with East Coast artists.
Financial troubles also eventually lead to Death Row Records filing for bankruptcy.