Las Vegas Sun

December 12, 2018

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Rapper on way to charitable event

The shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur and Death Row Records owner Marion "Suge" Knight occurred while they were driving to a charitable event that raised money to keep children away from violence.

The two were blocks away from Club 662, where Saturday's fund-raising party was held, when a Cadillac pulled up alongside Knight's BMW and fired at least 13 rounds. Shakur was hit four times in the chest and remains in critical condition. Knight was grazed by a bullet and released from the hospital.

The money raised at the party will be donated to Barry's Boxing, a local nonprofit gym owned by a Metro Police officer who spends his free time trying to keep kids out of trouble, said the nightclub's attorney, George Kelesis.

Kelesis had asked Knight, who wants to buy Club 662 on East Flamingo Road, to pass on word of the party to his celebrity friends to ensure a successful event. Among the 500 guests were boxers Mike Tyson and Tommy Hearns, the attorney said.

"The thing about Knight is he's real gung-ho about getting kids to straighten up their acts," Kelesis said.

The attorney's characterization of Knight -- called Suge (pronounced shug) -- contradicts the rap producer's public image and his own actions.

Knight, who started Death Row Records in 1992, has grossed more than $100 million and sold more than 15 million records. Critics say gangsta rap corrupts the minds of children, degrades women and glamorizes violence. The record label has been likened to a gang with Knight as its kingpin.

The big man -- 6 feet 4 and about 315 pounds -- often wears a large ruby-and-diamond ring that spells M.O.B., which stands for Member of Bloods (his neighborhood gang), "money over bitches" (his motto) or plain mob (as in the Mafia), the Los Angeles Times reported.

He once threatened a rival record label owner with a baseball bat and pipes over a contract dispute, court records show.

Metro officer Patrick Barry, a retired professional boxer, does not know Knight or Shakur personally. The tenuous link to the shooting has drawn little interest from police investigators, who have not interviewed Barry.

The charity party was a first for Barry's Boxing in southwest Las Vegas. The boys and girls who belong to Barry's gym receive tough love from the former pro and his wife, a Clark County Detention Center officer.

"Our philosophy is we teach them the science and not the violence in self- defense," Barry said. "Biggest thing I notice is so many of the youth that I deal with need attention from adults because their mothers and fathers are both working."

Eight-year-olds and young boxers in their 20s come to Barry for advice ranging from girls to cars to college.

"I don't know where they'll get their answers if they didn't come to the gym," he said. "We tell them do what's right when you're in the ring, because you're in there alone. It has a lot of the same thing -- boxing and life."

The policeman is a former juvenile detective now assigned to McCarran International Airport. He is set to receive a national police award later this month for community service.

Barry knows Shakur and Knight "by reputation only." Although the two personify all that the trainer tries to discourage in his youth -- Shakur has "outlaw" tattooed on his forearm and "thug life" across his torso -- Barry said he is still saddened by this weekend's shooting.

The charitable event was at Club 662 through the use of a special event permit.

It has been widely, and incorrectly reported, that Knight owns Club 662 (which spells M.O.B. on a telephone pad). The nightclub, which has a county business and liquor license pending, is owned by Las Vegas businesswoman Helen Thomas, president of Platinum Road Inc.