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Rapper Held on Unrelated Charges After Little Rock Shooting
A rapper whose concert in Little Rock was the site of a shooting that left 28 people injured was arrested early Sunday (July 2) on unrelated assault charges while outside an Alabama club where he was performing just 24 hours later, authorities said.
Ricky Hampton, 25, of Memphis, Tennessee, also known as Finese 2Tymes, was arrested on outstanding charges of aggravated assault with a gun out of Forrest City in eastern Arkansas, the U.S. Marshals Service said. Little Rock police said on Twitter that no arrests have been made in the shooting at the Power Ultra Lounge in downtown Little Rock. Police have said they believe the shooting stemmed from a dispute in the crowd and may be gang-related.
The Marshals Service said Hampton and another man were arrested at the Side Effects Club in Birmingham, where Hampton was performing. The rapper took the stage in Birmingham just a day after gunfire broke out as he was performing at the Power Ultra Lounge. Twenty-five people between the ages of 16 and 35 suffered gunshot wounds, and three others were hurt after the shooting early Saturday.
A message posted on the rapper's Facebook page Saturday offered thoughts and prayers for those injured: "THE VIOLENCE IS NOT FOR THE CLUB PEOPLE. WE ALL COME WITH 1 MOTIVE AT THE END OF THE DAY, AND THATS TO HAVE FUN."
A woman who answered a phone number listed on Finese 2Tymes' Instagram account for booking said the rapper didn't consider canceling the Birmingham show, despite the shooting, because he wasn't responsible for what happened. The woman didn't give her name before hanging up.
The volley of gunfire inside the Power Ultra Lounge came so fast that investigators believe multiple people had to have been involved. Police Chief Kenton Buckner credited quick work by first responders for there being no fatalities.
Courtney Swanigan, 23, told The Associated Press that when the gunfire rang out, "I just closed my eyes, got down on the ground and put my hands on my head."
City officials said they would move Monday to shut down the club under a "criminal abatement" program. State regulators suspended the club's liquor license Saturday, and a representative for the landlord's office later posted an eviction notice on a door to the club. The notice stated that the club must move out of the property within three days "due to your failure to maintain the premises in a safe condition."
Mayor Mark Stodola said the city must "keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people" and suggested that people refuse to patronize clubs that seem to promote violence. Material advertising the concert by Tennessee rapper Finese 2Tymes showed a man pointing a gun at a camera.
"A promotional video with a gun on the front cover inviting people to a concert ... should also be totally unacceptable in our community," the mayor said.
The shooting capped a violent week in Arkansas' largest city. Police had responded to a dozen drive-by shootings over the previous nine days.
"I'm sick of all the killing and I'm tired of all the shooting. The kids getting hurt," said Raida Bunche, who was waiting outside the club after hearing from a friend that her son had been inside. She found out later that he had run from the club when the shooting started and was not hurt.
The shooting occurred around 2:30 a.m. about 1 mile (1.61 kilometers) east of the state Capitol building. First-responders are stationed through the central part of the city and hospitals are a quick ride away.
"We had professional people responding to that incident and they did what they were trained to do, and I know they probably had something to do with the fact we didn't have any fatalities," Buckner said. He also credited divine intervention.
A Facebook video posted from inside the club included audio of at least 24 rounds fired in about 11 seconds. Darryl Rankin, who posted the video, said a friend of his who attended the concert with him had a bullet "stuck in his spine." Buckner said police had not yet spoken with the rapper, who he said has outstanding warrants in the state.