Monday 18 December 2017

Watch: Shocking footage of man walking through hip-hop concert firing a gun

Police investigating a deadly shooting at a packed hip-hop concert in New York arrested a Brooklyn rap artist, saying surveillance footage showed him walking through the venue firing a gun.

Roland Collins, who goes by the stage name Troy Ave, will face attempted murder and weapons charges, a police spokesman said.

Four people were shot, one fatally, when a fight started on Wednesday night in a performers' lounge at a Manhattan concert hall where the rapper T.I. was scheduled to perform.

Read More: Watch shocking footage as one dead and three injured in shooting at New York gig

The man who died, Ronald McPhatter, was a member of Collins' entourage and had been there to provide security, according to his family. Collins, 33, suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, police said.

An eight-second video clip released by police shows the gunman bursting through the door of a VIP room in apparent pursuit of another man, who flees off-screen.

As concertgoers huddle under a counter and clutch each other, the gunman, who appears to be limping, stops and scans the room for a moment. Then, he spots something, raises his gun and fires.

There were nearly 1,000 people in the concert hall, Irving Plaza, when the shooting began.

One of the victims, Christopher Vinson, was shot in the chest on the venue's ground level after a bullet travelled through the floor, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. Another bystander, Maggie Heckstall, was shot in the leg.

The exact circumstances of what prompted the fight were still under investigation.

Police Commissioner William Bratton blamed the shootings on "the crazy world of the so-called rap artists who are basically thugs that basically celebrate the violence that they live all their lives".

He said: "The music, unfortunately, often-times celebrates violence, celebrates degradation of women, celebrates the drug culture and it's unfortunate that as they get fame and fortune, that some of them are just not able to get out of the life, if you will."

That prompted an angry response from Mr McPhatter's relatives and a city politician, who derided the comments as insensitive and divisive.

"When white people are doing this violence, I don't hear the same language being used," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a Brooklyn Democrat.

He said he had worked on anti-violence initiatives with Mr McPhatter and his older brother, Shanduke McPhatter, a former gang member.

The city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, said he believed Mr Bratton was "talking out of frustration".

Mr de Blasio said: "I think it's not really right to see a whole genre through one eye.

"There are some rap artists and folks in the hip-hop culture doing amazing, good things for the world."

Shanduke McPhatter said his brother "got too much into" the glamour of the hip-hop scene, and it landed him on Wednesday night in an environment where alcohol flowed freely and trouble broke out.

In a post on his Instagram account, T.I. - born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr - sent his condolences to the victims, adding that "our music is intended to save lives, like it has mine and many others".

Police said there was no evidence connecting T.I. to the violence, but the incident marks the third time in a decade that shootings have occurred at or after concerts where the Grammy Award-winning musician was due to perform.

A member of the rapper's entourage was killed and three others were injured during a gunfight following a party after a concert where T.I. performed near Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2006.

Last March, two people were shot and injured in a Charlotte, North Carolina, nightclub where he was due to perform.

In 2010, the Atlanta rapper was sentenced to 11 months in prison on gun charges.

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