Police arrest rapper Troy Ave in New York concert shooting

NEW YORK (AFP) - Police in New York City arrested a rapper charged with attempted murder Thursday after a shooting at a prominent music venue killed one person and injured three, the authorities said.

Brooklyn rapper Troy Ave, whose real name is Roland Collins, was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon after the shooting at Irving Plaza late Wednesday during a show to be headlined by T.I., an Atlanta rapper with a history of legal run-ins.

Police released video of Collins - who was also scheduled to perform at the concert - firing at least one shot inside the third-floor VIP area of the club around 10:15 pm, when concert-goers raced out in panic.

Collins's friend and bodyguard Ronald McPhatter, 33, died after he was shot in the stomach, police said.

He was pronounced dead at a hospital near Irving Plaza, which is near Manhattan's bustling Union Square and the upscale Gramercy Park district.

Collins was among those injured in the shooting and remains hospitalized. A bullet fired from his own gun grazed his leg, media reported.

Two others - Christopher Vinson, 34, and Maggie Heckstall, 26 - were hospitalized with bullet wounds, a police statement said. Both are in stable condition.

Police said they recovered five nine-millimeter shell casings from the scene.

The surveillance video shows three men bursting into the VIP area, where one of them shoots at an unseen subject.

Others in the room shielded themselves and hid under a bar during the shooting.

Police say the shooting took place during a fight that began in the green room adjacent to the VIP area.

"It went on for about five minutes, the fight, and then someone pulled a gun," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters.

Police are investigating the cause of the argument amid media speculation it was between the entourages of Collins and another rapper.

T.I., who police said does not appear to have been involved in the shooting, expressed condolences to relatives of the victims on Instagram.

"My heart is heavy," he wrote. "Our music is intended to save lives, like it has mine and many others." Thousands of Americans are killed each year in gun violence, but shootings are comparatively rare at music clubs, which generally assign security guards to frisk guests for weapons.

It's not clear how many people took part in the shooting. Police are investigating how the shooter or shooters were able to bring guns into the venue past metal detectors.

The incident indicates they were allowed to carry weapons when entering the VIP section of Irving Plaza, whose management declined comment pending the police investigation.

Some 950 people were in the club's main room when the firing started.

Just as the concert was bout to get underway, "we saw two people up on the VIP arguing, and then everybody started running because they heard the shots," concertgoer Sagine Morenci told local WCBS TV.

The 1,025-capacity club, owned by entertainment giant Live Nation, is a major venue for rising artists as well as intimate shows by established acts.

New York police commissioner William Bratton prompted controversy when he criticized the incident on WCBS 880 radio, denouncing "the crazy world of these so-called rap artists who are basically thugs that basically celebrate the violence that they've done all their lives." T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, is one of the leading forces in trap music, a style of hip-hop from the US South that emphasizes aggressive lyricism and 1980s-style drum machines.

He served seven months in prison in 2009 for attempting to buy unregistered machine guns from dealers who turned out to be undercover agents.

He spent another 10 months in prison two years later for violating terms of probation on drug charges.

He has won three Grammy Awards, including for the song My Love, a collaboration with pop star Justin Timberlake.