Rapper arrested in T.I. concert shooting that killed 1

NEW YORK (AP) — Police investigating a deadly shooting at a packed hip-hop concert arrested a rap artist Thursday, saying surveillance footage showed him stalking through the venue firing a gun.

Roland Collins, who’s from Brooklyn and 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 Wednesday night in a performers’ lounge at a Manhattan concert hall where the star rapper T.I. was scheduled to perform.

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 8-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 with his eyes. 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 traveled through the floor, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. Another bystander, Maggie Heckstall, was shot in the leg, authorities said.

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

Police Commissioner William Bratton, in an interview with WCBS radio, 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.”

“The music, unfortunately, oftentimes 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,” he said.

That prompted an angry response from McPhatter’s relatives and a city lawmaker, 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 who said he had worked on anti-violence initiatives with McPhatter and his older brother, Shanduke McPhatter, a former gang member.

The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, also a Democrat, said afterward that he believed Bratton was “talking out of frustration.”

“I think it’s not really right to see a whole genre through one eye,” he said. “There are some rap artists and folks in the hip-hop culture doing amazing, good things for the world.”

Collins was in custody and couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. It was unclear if he had an attorney who could comment on the charges against him. A message left at a phone number listed for him wasn’t immediately returned.

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

In a post on his Instagram account, rapper 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 during or after concerts where the Grammy Award-winning musician 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, Ohio, 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.


Associated Press writers Kiley Armstrong, Tom McElroy, Mesfin Fekadu, Jennifer Peltz and Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.

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