Death Row Records founder Suge Knight was involved in a hit and run yesterday with two men on the set of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, which left one man dead and the other injured, according to the LA Times.
The former rap music mogul reportedly visited the Compton, CA, film set on Thursday, January 29, 2015, where he got into an argument with two unidentified men. Filming had reportedly wrapped for the day on the F. Gary Gray-directed movie about the 1980s pioneering rap group featuring Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, both of whom are producers on the film and were reportedly not on set at the time of the incident.
Soon after leaving the film set, Suge is suspected of following the victims to a burger joint, where he allegedly ran them over with his truck in the parking lot before fleeing the scene, the LA Times reports. A 55-year-old man died, while a 51-year-old man suffered undisclosed injuries, according to police, who are treating this as a homicide and have a warrant out for Knight’s arrest. Police confirmed that at least one of the men was a member of the Straight Outta Compton film crew. Knight’s attorney said that his 49-year-old client plans to turn himself in and be exonerated once an investigation into the incident is completed.
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Straight Outta Compton tells the true-life story of the revolutionizing Compton rap group N.W.A. and its five members — Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella. The film’s name comes from the title track of the group’s groundbreaking 1988 debut album Straight Outta Compton, which contained the controversial standout song “Fuck tha Police.” Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., stars as his famous father in the film, with Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, Aldis Hodge as MC Ren, and Neil Brown, Jr. as DJ Yella. Paul Giamatti plays the group’s manager Jerry Heller and Keith Stanfield is fellow rapper Snoop Dogg, while Alexandra Shipp, who was recently cast as a young Storm in X-Men: Apocalypse, also stars. Director F. Gary Gray has helmed such films as Friday, Set It Off, The Negotiator, and The Italian Job, as well as several music videos, including those from Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Cypress Hill, and most notably the award-winning video for TLC’s “Waterfalls.” No footage from the Straight Outta Compton biopic has been officially released, but back in December, Ice Cube gave attendees to his show in Sydney, Australia a sneak peek (the leaked footage, which looks like a teaser trailer, can be seen here). Universal Pictures will release the film in theaters on August 14, 2015. Production had wrapped for the day when the altercation occurred yesterday.
Seven days into the start of filming last August, a drive-by shooting occurred right in front of the cast and crew members on set in what reportedly was a gang-related incident. No one affiliated with the film was hurt, but a bystander near the set was hit.
Knight, who co-founded Death Row Records with Dr. Dre and three other partners, has done several stints in prison for assault charges and parole violation, and has been arrested numerous times on drug, theft, and assault charges over the years. The record label executive was also part of the famous 1990s East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry which resulted in the murder of music artists Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. In 1996, the music producer was in the vehicle with Shakur when he was shot in a drive-by, which resulted in Shakur’s death and Knight being hit in the head by a bullet fragmentation. In August 2005, Knight was shot at a pre-Video Music Awards party hosted by Kanye West. On August 24, 2014, he was shot six times at a pre-Video Music Awards party hosted by Chris Brown; the music mogul reportedly refused to cooperate with investigators on the case, who did determine that Knight was the intended target. A few months later, Knight was hospitalized for a blood clot believed to stem from the recent shooting incident.
TMZ‘s report of yesterday’s hit and run includes information from police that witnesses claimed that Knight backed up his car and ran over the victim twice before fleeing the scene. In an earlier report when the hit and run was believed to have taken place on the film set, TMZ said that sources close to Knight said that he was “scared because he’s in frail health” and that the other two men were the instigators of the fight. At press time, TMZ’s latest reported was that police had found Suge’s truck abandoned in a parking lot in the Westwood section of Los Angeles and had impounded it, and there have been no update’s from Knight’s attorney and no surrendering to authorities. There’s also been no official statement from the Straight Outta Compton production or confirmation as to the identity of the two other men.
We’ll update the story as details emerge…
Update 1/30/2015, 10am: The LA Times story has been updated to say that Knight has been arrested and is being held on $2 million bail. He surrendered to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in West Hollywood with his attorney around 12:30am PST.
A new LA Times article reports that Suge’s lawyer James Blatt claims his client was “fleeing for his life” when he allegedly ran over the two men. See quote from the report:
A group of people attacked Knight and threatened to kill him and were “attempting to drag him outside of the vehicle when he made an effort to escape … in fear for his life,” Blatt told the Los Angeles Times on Friday morning.
Straight Outta Compton synopsis: In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton tells the astonishing story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.