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Bullets Strike Rap Mogul Knight's Offices

May 28, 2003|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

Several bullets damaged the front door, windows and walls of rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight's record label offices early Tuesday in what some law enforcement officials believe was an attack by members of a street gang who have a beef with him and his associates.

A security guard on duty was not hurt in the attack, which occurred in the 8200 block of Wilshire Boulevard about 2:30 a.m., Los Angeles Police Officer Adriana Sanchez said.

The shots were fired from vehicles that drove by Tha Row records, formerly known as Death Row Records. Officer Lucy Diaz said four cars were seen leaving the scene.

Knight completed 61 days in jail earlier this year after a state prison board found that he had violated his parole by associating with a known member of the Mob Pirus Blood gang.

Law enforcement sources said the shooting may have been the latest in a series of incidents involving a rivalry between that gang and two other factions of the Blood gang -- the Fruit Town Pirus and Leuders Park Pirus. At least two of Knight's close associates have been slain in recent years.

Knight played down the incident.

"The crime was probably committed by a jealous boyfriend or jealous husband," he said in a statement, explaining that his artists have "a lot of girls flocking to them at the studio and at the clubs."

In the 1990s, Knight's company propelled hard-core rap from the fringe into the headphones of teenagers nationwide and generated $100 million a year in album sales. But the Compton-born mogul never let go of his roots. In 1996, he was incarcerated for five years for violating the terms of his probation on a prior assault.

Last November, authorities investigating a slaying in Compton raided several locations associated with Knight, including the record label offices, some of his homes and those of some employees.

Knight was not named as a suspect in the killing, which detectives believe was in retaliation for the April 2002 shooting of a former Death Row employee.

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