A rapper wounded in Wednesday night’s fatal shooting in Manhattan has been charged with taking part in the gunfight at an Irving Plaza concert, the NYPD said.
Roland Collins, 33, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, who raps as Troy Ave, faces charges of attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment and menacing after police said Thursday he can be seen on a video firing a gun inside Irving Plaza, where he and three other people were shot, one fatally.
However, Collins does not face charges at the moment in the death of Ronald McPhatter, 33, who was one of the shooting victims. Collins was wounded in the leg in the shootout and remained in the hospital Thursday.
McPhatter, also of Brooklyn, had been facing attempted murder charges stemming from a shooting outside a Manhattan hookah bar in November, police said. According to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, McPhatter was next due in court June 29. His bail had been set at $75,000 cash or $100,000 bond.
Police Thursday were still looking for at least one person who fired gunshots backstage in a VIP room at Irving Plaza, where Grammy-winning rapper T.I. was preparing to perform, officials said.
McPhatter was shot in the stomach and later pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan, police said, adding no one associated with T.I. was involved in the shooting, which involved a fight among two warring groups tied to rappers who were performing.
According to police, McPhatter had 10 previous arrests, including charges of assault, marijuana possession and violation of traffic laws. Late last year, McPhatter was indicted with another man on charges of attempted murder, attempted assault, assault and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, court records showed.
McPhatter’s brother, Shanduke McPhatter, a former gang member who today tries to get gang members to put down their arms as founder of Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes Inc. in Brooklyn, said, “My brother was never convicted of a felony. I will not allow my little brother — my mother’s baby, to be criminalized.”
McPhatter said his brother was a security guard for the entertainment Wednesday night. “He was working. . . . I want to know how a gun was brought into Irving Plaza. There needs to be accountability.”
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said there was a metal detector and security at Irving Plaza but that police were looking to see if those procedures were adequate and how a gun was brought inside. Officials at Irving Plaza didn’t return requests for comment. Concert promoter Live Nation said Thursday it was working on a response.
Besides the shootings of McPhatter and Collins, two others at the popular concert venue in the Union Square area were wounded and were recovering in a hospital, an NYPD spokesman said.
Police said an early collection of evidence found four 9-mm shell casings at the scene: three made of brass and one of a different metal, raising the possibility two guns were used, a law enforcement source speculated. Boyce later said four of five shell casings found came from the same gun. According to Boyce, the shooting “started as fisticuffs for about five minutes” before shots were fired.
The shooting prompted NYPD Commissioner William Bratton to comment on the culture surrounding the “gangsta rap world.” He said it creates the atmosphere which led to the shooting in the hall, which at the time held about 950 people.
Bratton on CBS News called rappers “talented artists,” but said the rap world has many people who are “basically thugs who celebrate violence.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio gave a more muted response, saying “this is an individual instance. I think it’s hard to generalize.”
McPhatter said his brother was taken in by the “glamour” of hip-hop.
“The glamorization of it might have made my little brother lose a little focus,” he said. “This lifestyle has affected our community.”
He said concert promoters “have big names with big money and overpriced alcohol . . . $300 bottles. My brother was pulled into all of that.”
Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry said the shooting erupted while Brooklyn rappers Maino and Uncle Murda were performing ahead of the scheduled show by T.I., a rapper and actor whose birth name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. and whose work has featured appearances by a host of well-known stars, including Rihanna, Iggy Azalea, Justin Timberlake and Eminem.
Police said that while Maino, who is from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn and whose real name is Jermaine Coleman, and Uncle Murda, who is from East New York and whose birth name is Leonard Grant, were onstage, a backstage dispute involving the rappers was followed by the shooting about 10:15 p.m.
Witnesses described a frantic, frightening scene inside the concert venue. One concertgoer, Liv Hoffman, 19, told The Associated Press she was in the balcony VIP area to the left of the stage when the shooting started. She said an argument between two groups of people precipitated the shooting and that she had been talking with a woman who was wounded in the gunfire.
“The girl next to me was shot point-blank, and men picked her up and carried her out,” Hoffman said.
With Matthew Chayes and Maria Alvarez