Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight was the apparent target of a gunman who shot him and two other people at a party at a Sunset Strip nightclub before the MTV Video Music Awards, according to a sheriff’s investigator.
Knight, 49, was shot shortly after arriving at the pre-Video Music Awards party early Sunday morning hosted by singer Chris Brown at the 1OAK nightclub, 9039 W. Sunset Blvd, said Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
“Video shows the suspect with a handgun firing at Knight and striking the two other victims who were in his vicinity,” Corina said after reviewing pictures shot by surveillance cameras. “After the shooting people who were in the club started running for the exits along with the suspect.”
It is believed the gunman, who is being sought, targeted Knight but it is not known whether the other victims were targets or innocent bystanders, Corina said.
The shooting was reported on 911 lines at 1:36 a.m. Sunday, said Deputy Crystal Hernandez of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.
Knight was struck several times in the stomach and hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and was expected to recover.
Witnesses told the celebrity website TMZ that a sheriff’s deputy helped Knight to a squad car, where he sat until paramedics arrived.
Sheriff’s deputies said a 32-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman were also wounded. They, too, were expected to recover, although one victim was transported to a hospital in critical condition, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Robert Diaz.
“They were transported to local hospitals and they are expected to recover,” Hernandez said.
1OAK, also known as One Of A Kind, opened on the Sunset Strip last January, according to its website.
Law enforcement sources said a preliminary investigation suggests Sunday’s shooting is connected to gang rivalry and Knight’s long-standing connections with Compton’s Bloods gang, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Sources told the newspaper that several known members of the Bloods gang were present at the party.
Knight is no stranger to gun violence. He was shot in 2005 at a pre-awards party hosted by Kanye West in Miami. And it was Knight who was driving the BMW 750 in which Tupac Shakur was shot and killed in Las Vegas in 1996.
Knight was struck by bullet fragments in that incident.
“It’s disappointing that we as a society can’t have fun or enjoy ourselves without any altercations sometimes,” Brown tweeted Sunday.