Authorities raided the record company of rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight and 16 other locations in Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area today (Nov. 14) as part of a murder investigation. Search warrants were served across the L.A. area, from the Beverly Hills, Calif., headquarters of Tha Row Records to gritty Compton. A lawyer for Knight said some of the locations were former homes of the rap mogul, but a sheriff’s spokesperson said Knight was not considered a suspect.
There were several arrests, but authorities refused to offer details about those or the investigation. “The kinds of people that we have warrants for are wanted for very serious crimes,” sheriff’s deputy Darren Harris said. He also said there is “some connection” to Tha Row Records, the company formerly known as Death Row Records.
Knight’s attorney, Arthur Barens, said some of the places being searched today were either past or present homes of the rap mogul. “We’re not sure who the target is or what they’re looking for,” said Barens, who noted that Knight was willing to cooperate with authorities.
Barens said law enforcement officials damaged the record label office when they stormed the building. Sheriff’s deputies, including a SWAT team, surrounded the building that houses Tha Row Records at about 5 a.m. “Until I have some reason to believe there was legitimacy to this, I consider this heavy-handed harassment,” Barens said.
Knight and his record label have been at the center of an East Coast-West Coast rap music feud that police believe has led to the unsolved shooting deaths of two major stars over the past six years. Knight was riding in a car with rapper Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas in 1996 when another vehicle pulled alongside and someone opened fire, killing Shakur. Knight has said he couldn’t see who fired the shots.
At the time, rapper Notorious B.I.G. and Shakur, once close friends, had been feuding for more than a year and had exchanged insults in recordings, at concerts, and awards shows. A Los Angeles Times investigation into the long-unsolved slaying concluded Shakur’s killer was probably a gang member who used a pistol provided by B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher Wallace. Wallace was shot to death six months later in Los Angeles, a killing that also remains unsolved.
Two other former associates of Knight have been shot to death this year. Alton McDonald, 37, a former production manager at the record label, was killed in April as he pumped gas at a Los Angeles gas station. And 33-year-old Henry Smith, who designed the label’s electric chair logo, was killed as he sat in his parked SUV last month. No arrests have been made in any of the cases.
Knight was released from prison in August after serving five years for violating probation by getting into a fight hours before Shakur was shot to death.
Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.