Rapper to Be Charged in Deadly NYC Concert Shooting: Police - NBC Connecticut
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Rapper to Be Charged in Deadly NYC Concert Shooting: Police

Troy Ave, who was scheduled to perform, is believed to be the gunman seen in surveillance video



    Brooklyn Rapper Troy Ave Charged in Shooting at Irving Plaza: Police

    The shooter seen on video firing his gun inside the New York City concert venue where rapper T.I. was set to perform Wednesday is believed to be the Brooklyn rapper known as Troy Avenue, and he has been charged in the deadly shooting, police say. Checkey Beckford reports. (Published Friday, May 27, 2016)

    The shooter seen on video firing his gun inside the New York City concert venue where rapper T.I. was set to perform Wednesday is believed to be the Brooklyn rapper known as Troy Ave, and he has been charged in the deadly shooting, police say. 

    The rapper, whose real name is Ronald Collins and who was also scheduled to perform at Irving Plaza, has been charged with attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon, police said Thursday.

    He remains hospitalized after apparently injuring himself in the shooting, according to police. It's not clear if he has an attorney who could comment on the pending charges. 

    Police said what began as a fistfight in the green room at Irving Plaza Wednesday night spilled into a nearby balcony VIP area. Surveillance video released by police shows three men barreling into the VIP area, and one of them shoots point-blank at an unseen subject. 

    It appears other people in the room had been bracing for the shooting; people were hiding underneath the bar as the gunman and his accomplices came in, and several men were shielding women, the video shows. 

    Investigators believe Collins was the sole shooter, sources said. Five 9-mm shell casings were collected at the scene following the roughly five-minute long fight, according to police officials.

    Investigators conducted ballistic tests Friday, including on a bullet removed from Collins' leg, to find out whether more than gun was used in the shooting, The Associated Press reported. 

    Police say they're investigating how the shooter got into the venue with the metal detectors set up. 

    Collins' friend and bodyguard Ronald McPhatter, 33, died after being shot in the stomach, police and family said. He was found near the bar of the VIP area. 

    In addition to Collins, two other people were injured: a 26-year-old woman, Maggie Heckstall, was shot in the leg, and a 34-year-old man, Christopher Vinson, who was standing near a bar on the floor below, was struck in the chest by a bullet that pierced the floor, police said. They were in stable condition at local hospitals. 

    Coincidentally, McPhatter's brother is a local activist who works against gun violence and runs a nonprofit called Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes. In a news conference with his family outside Irving Plaza Thursday, he called for accountability.

    "I need to know who was on staff and how they got in there with them guns," Shanduke McPhatter said. 

    Rapper T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., does not appear to have played any part in the shooting, according to police. 

    In a statement released on his Twitter account, T.I. wrote: "My heart is heavy today. Our music is intended to save lives, like it has mine and many others. My heartfelt condolences to the family that suffered the loss and my prayers are with all those injured." 

    The shooting occurred shortly after rapper Maino entered the VIP area following a performance onstage with artist Uncle Murda, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters outside the concert hall Thursday. 

    Maino disputed reports there was conflict between him and Troy Ave, saying in a statement: "What transpired was absolutely not the result of myself or anyone in my camp, entourage, traveling party or organization. We entered the venue respectfully as always and exited in shock like all of the others in attendance." 

    He added that he and Troy Ave had a "great working relationship" over the past five years, and that despite reports, "there is no 'ongoing beefs' or 'entourage issues' between Troy and I." 

    He sent his condolences to McPhatter's family and wished Collins and the others injured a speedy recovery. 

    Concertgoer Liv Hoffman, 19, was in the balcony VIP area to the left of the stage when the shooting happened. She said there had been some kind of argument between two groups of people before the shooting. A girl she had been talking to was one of the victims.

    "The girl next to me was shot point-blank, and men picked her up and carried her out," Hoffman told The Associated Press. "For two to three minutes we still heard firing, still heard shots, we were clutching each other making sure no one was getting hit."

    Video shot inside the 1,025-person venue showed a chaotic scene as concertgoers rushed to the sides trying to leave the area as a group of people tended to a person on the floor.

    Representatives for Irving Plaza's management referred questions to police.

    Police Commissioner William Bratton said in a radio interview that it was unclear so far whether anyone in the performers' entourages was involved, and many were unwilling to talk with police.

    He called rap artists "basically thugs" on WCBS radio, describing "the crazy world of these so-called rap artists who are basically thugs that basically celebrate violence they did all their lives." The comments prompted angry responses from McPhatter's relatives and local lawmakers and community leaders. 

    The shooting marks the third time in a decade that shootings have occurred during or after concerts where T.I. was to perform.

    A member of the rapper's entourage was killed and three others were injured during a gunbattle following a party after a concert where T.I. performed near Cincinnati in 2006. Last March, two people were shot and injured in a Charlotte, North Carolina, nightclub where he was to perform.

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