A member of the Los Angeles "gangsta rap" trio Da Lench Mob has been arrested on suspicion of murder in a slaying last month at a bowling alley in the Athens area, authorities said Wednesday.
Terry Gray, 24, who goes by the stage name T-Bone, is the second member of the hit rap group to be arrested on suspicion of murder since last summer.
A Los Angeles Sheriff's Department spokeswoman said murder charges could be filed as early as today against Gray, who was arrested Tuesday. Witnesses have identified Gray as the gunman who burst into the Southwest Bowl on Feb. 18 and fatally shot Herbert Battle and wounded Lashann Townsend, both 22.
The other member of Da Lench Mob arrested in connection with a killing, DaSean Laron Cooper, 25, is scheduled to be arraigned in Torrance on March 21. He is charged with murder in the unrelated shooting death in June of a 22-year-old man in the Athens area near Inglewood.
Gray's attorney, Anthony Alexander, acknowledged that the rapper was at the bowling alley the night of the murder, but said his client left "long before shooting erupted."
"Terry Gray did not murder anyone," Alexander said. "They arrested the wrong man. Terry wasn't even in the building when it happened."
Deputies served a search warrant Tuesday at the Athens area residence where Gray resides. The house in the 11600 block of Western Avenue near the Southeast Bowl is owned by Gray's parents.
After arresting Gray, investigators seized several handguns in search of the weapon used in the killing. The weapons were being analyzed by the Sheriff's Department crime lab.
Sources close to the rapper said deputies also confiscated "reams of rap lyrics" from the premises.
Although Gray's attorney said his client is six inches shorter than the gunman, homicide detectives said several people identified Gray as the gunman.
Da Lench Mob rose to prominence in 1992 with the release of "Guerillas in tha Mist," an album produced and co-written by controversial Los Angeles rap star Ice Cube, who has been criticized for writing music promoting violence against police.
The album--which included the single "Freedom Got an A.K."--has generated more than $6 million in sales since its release on Ice Cube's Street Knowledge label, which is distributed by Time Warner-owned EastWest Records.
Ice Cube and representatives for Street Knowledge declined comment on the case. Other members in the rap community were shocked by the news of his arrest.
"This almost seems impossible to me," said James Bernard, senior editor of the Source, the nation's leading hip-hop music journal.
Times staff writer Dennis Hunt contributed to this story.
Rap's Troubles As the battle over gangsta rap's social impact heats up on Capitol Hill, several of the multimillion-dollar genre's stars are about to enter courtrooms in Los Angeles to face charges ranging from assault to murder.
Name: Terry Gray, aka T Bone
Music achievement: Da Lench Mob's debut album, "Guerillas in tha Mist," has generated nearly $6 million in sales since its release in September, 1992. The trio's music is released on Los Angeles rap star Ice Cube's Street Knowledge label and is distributed by EastWest Records, a Time Warner company.
Circumstances of arrest: Gray was arrested Tuesday for investigation of murder in a Feb. 18 shooting at an Athens bowling alley. Witnesses said Gray killed Herbert Battle, 22, and wounded Lashann Townsend, 22, both of Los Angeles.
Court status: Expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles today. Name: Tupac Amaru Shakur, aka 2pac
Music achievement: Shakur's 1991 "2PACALYPSE NOW" album and 1993 "4 My Niggaz" have generated more than $12 million in sales. He also starred with Janet Jackson in the movie "Poetic Justice." He records for Interscope Records, a Time Warner company.
Circumstances of arrest: Shakur was convicted two weeks ago of assault and battery stemming from a March attack on film director Allen Hughes. He will soon also face trial for forcible sodomy of a 20-year-old woman in New York.
Court status: To be sentenced for the assault on Hughes today in Los Angeles.
Name: Calvin Broadus, aka Snoop Doggy Dogg
Music achievement: His "DOGGYSTYLE" album debuted at No. 1 on the nation's pop chart last November and has generated more than $40 million in sales. He records for Death Row Records, a company affiliated with Time Warner.
Circumstances of arrest: Broadus was charged with murder Sept. 7 along with two other men and released on $1 million bail. His bodyguard, McKinley Lee, has acknowledged shooting Phillip Waldermariam in a park in the Palms area last August, but claimed it was self-defense.
Court status: Scheduled for a hearing March 11 in Los Angeles to set a trial date for the murder case.
Name: Da Sean Laron Cooper, aka J-Dee
Music achievement: Da Lench Mob's debut album, "Guerillas in tha Mist," has generated nearly $6 million in sales. The trio's music is released on Los Angeles rap star Ice Cube's Street Knowledge label and is distributed by EastWest Records, a Time Warner company.
Circumstances of arrest: Cooper was arrested June 22, 1993, in the shooting death two days earlier of Scott Patrick Charles, 22, after an argument in the Athens area of Los Angeles.
Court status: Scheduled to be arraigned March 21 in Torrance for murder and possession of a firearm.