- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2005

MIAMI — Police said they had no suspects yesterday in the shooting of rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight at a party coinciding with the MTV Video Music Awards.

The gunman remained at large as the MTV show went on last night, with host Sean Combs — the R&B; impresario whose nickname has morphed from Puff Daddy to P. Diddy to just plain “Diddy” — declaring: “The theme of tonight is, anything can happen.”

Former “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson won the MTV award for best female video for “Since U Been Gone,” while Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Kayne West won the award for best male video for “Jesus Walks.” Green Day won the best rock video honor for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”

Mr. Knight, 40, was shot once in the upper right leg at about 1 a.m. yesterday at a star-studded party in Miami Beach given by Mr. West.

A police report described the shooter only as a black man wearing a pink shirt.

“We are interviewing all the witnesses we can to hopefully develop a composite,” said Bobby Hernandez, a spokesman for Miami Beach police.

Mr. Hernandez told the Miami Herald that the investigation was being hampered by witnesses’ unwillingness to talk. “We don’t have any physical description. We don’t know how many subjects were involved, which is mind-boggling, with all those people around,” he said.

It was the latest in a string of violent incidents that have shadowed the rap world, including the killings of stars Tupac Shakur in 1996, the Notorious B.I.G. in 1997 and Jam Master Jay of Run DMC in 2002. Mr. Knight was accompanying Mr. Shakur when he was fatally shot in Las Vegas.

Mr. Knight was admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach in good condition. Hospital officials said he was scheduled for surgery to remove the bullet from his leg and repair a broken bone.

A group of friends waiting at the hospital said Mr. Knight was alert and talkative after the shooting. Dermot Givens, Mr. Knight’s attorney in Los Angeles, did not return a call seeking comment.

Mr. Knight co-founded the pioneering rap label Death Row Records and hit the charts in the 1990s with West Coast stars, including Snoop Dogg and Mr. Shakur.

Mr. Knight was convicted in 1992 of assault and weapons violations and was placed on probation. In 1996, he was jailed for five years for violating probation after he and several associates, including Mr. Shakur, were recorded on videotape beating a gang rival at a Las Vegas hotel. Hours after the fight, Mr. Shakur was fatally wounded while riding in a car with Mr. Knight.

Relatives of Notorious B.I.G. have accused Mr. Knight of involvement in the artist’s death, although police have never named him a suspect.

Several witnesses said Mr. Knight was sitting at a table in the VIP Red Room section of the Shore Club when a man walked up and opened fire shortly after midnight. No one else was injured.

“I was dancing beside him, then I heard a pop that sounded like a champagne bottle had been opened, then I saw his bodyguards throw themselves on him,” New York-based artist Lilo Kinne told the Miami Herald. “It happened so fast, people were in a panic, trying to get out of there.”

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