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Police Seek Second Gunman in Irving Plaza Shooting as Rumors Fly: Report

Irving Plaza photographed on May 26, 2016 in New York City.
John Lamparski/WireImage

Irving Plaza's exterior photographed on May 26, 2016 in New York City.  

Troy Ave has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges following the shooting incident at Irving Plaza on May 25 that left the rapper's bodyguard Ronald McPhatter, aka BSB Banga, dead and three people injured. Now police are seeking a second shooter, according to a story from New York's PIX11, as conflicting reports and details trickle out about the altercation that led to the shooting.

The PIX11 report cites sources as saying an individual who had beefed with Troy approached the rapper in the Irving Plaza's third-floor dressing room, leading to a scuffle that erupted in gunshots, with the unidentified second gunman shooting Troy in the leg and McPhatter in the stomach. Troy then engaged in a struggle over the gun as people in the room fled; McPhatter later died from his wounds. Ballistic reports have yet to be released, though police have identified a gun found in Troy's car as having been involved in the shooting.

The New York Daily News, meanwhile, pointed out that McPhatter's brother, community activist Shanduke McPhatter, retweeted a post on Twitter that pointed the finger at someone associated with hip-hop podcaster and internet personality Taxstone, who has criticized Troy Ave sharply over the rapper's image and "mediocre" music in the past. "Troy Ave snuffed Tax. Tax's man is the one who shot them people, Troy got shot in the leg wrestling the gun off him," the post from May 27 reads; at press time, it was still on Shanduke McPhatter's Twitter page.

More than a dozen people were in the room at the time of the initial shooting, videos show, including members of the entourages of Brooklyn rappers Maino and Uncle Murda, as well as Troy and several other music industry figures. In videos released by TMZ, a fight seems to break out in the room, followed by several shots as people frantically scramble for the door.

In a short surveillance video clip released by the NYPD, a man police identified as Troy Ave can be seen emerging from a room with a gun in his hand and blood on his leg, firing a single shot in an off-camera direction. The New York Times reports that NYPD Detective John Santiago based the attempted murder charge off that video alone. 

Early speculation in the Daily News and other publications seemed to point to Troy accidentally shooting himself and McPhatter, with the two others caught in the crossfire. However, his lawyers John Stella and Scott Leemon strenuously denied this account during Troy's court appearance Monday. "What really happened here is Mr. Collins here is the real victim,” Leemon told the court. “The person who was killed at this event, he died a hero. [McPhatter] was his bodyguard. He wasn't shot by Mr. Collins. He was a lifelong friend."

When contacted by Billboard, the NYPD confirmed that the investigation is ongoing, but would not comment on specifics regarding the latest updates. Troy is being held without bail.

Also on Tuesday, DNAInfo New York cited unnamed sources saying the gun found in Troy Ave's car matched the bullet that killed BSB Banga; subsequently, Leemon contacted Billboard with a statement refuting the claim. "It is completely reckless of any member of law-enforcement suggest that Troy shot himself and his lifelong friend and bodyguard, Banga McPhatter," Leemon says. "They know it is not true. Despite all the speculation and innuendo in the media, nothing has changed what I said at Troy's arraignment on Monday: Troy didn't shoot Banga; Troy didn't shoot himself; Science will support this claim; Banga died a hero; They are both victims."

On Wednesday (June 1), Joey Bada$$' scheduled show at Irving Plaza, set for Thursday night, was canceled, with other hip-hop shows thought to be called off as well. Billboard has reached out to both Live Nation, which owns the venue, and the NYPD for comment on the concert cancellations. Neither returned inquiries as of press time.


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