NEW YORK (AP) — Police searched Thursday for a man captured on surveillance footage firing a gun at a hip-hop concert where artist T.I. was set to perform. Four people were shot, one of them fatally.
A fistfight that started on an upper floor of Manhattan’s Irving Plaza concert hall spilled into a second-floor balcony VIP area where shots rang out Wednesday night, police said.
Rappers Maino and Uncle Murda were on stage at the time, said William Aubry, Manhattan chief of detectives. T.I. was elsewhere in the building.
Police said they had obtained video showing part of the shooting, and Police Commissioner William Bratton said the investigation was progressing rapidly.
“We’re very confident that we’ll close it up very quickly,” Bratton said on WOR-AM radio, though he said some members of the rappers’ entourages weren’t being much help.
In the surveillance footage, police said, a man can be seen firing off one round just outside a green room — a performers’ lounge.
Bratton said it was unclear so far whether anyone in the performers’ entourages was involved, and many were unwilling to talk with police.
Witnesses described a frantic, frightening scene that developed at around 10:15 p.m., with about 1,000 people in the venue.
Concertgoer Liv Hoffman told The Associated Press that a woman next to her in the balcony VIP area was shot at close range, then carried out by some men.
“For two to three minutes, we still heard firing, still heard shots. We were clutching each other making sure no one was getting hit,” she said.
Video from inside the venue showed concertgoers rushing to the sides trying to leave the area as a group of people tended to a person on the floor.
“I ran out, just trying to look for my friends, just trying to see if everyone was OK. Everyone was hysterical,” Hoffman said.
A 33-year-old man was shot in the stomach and died at a hospital, Aubry said. A 34-year-old man was in critical but stable condition with a chest wound. A 26-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man with leg wounds were expected to survive.
Witnesses said security getting into the concert was lax. Police say there was security, including metal detectors, but how it was carried out is part of the investigation.
Rapper T.I., born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., was not among the injured. His representatives and Irving Plaza’s management referred questions to police.
The shooting marks the third time in a decade that shootings have occurred during or after concerts where T.I. was to perform.
A member of the rapper’s entourage was killed and three others were injured during a gunbattle following a party after a concert where T.I. performed near Cincinnati in 2006. Last March, two people were shot and injured in a Charlotte, North Carolina, nightclub where he was to perform.
In 2010, the Atlanta rapper was sentenced to 11 months in prison on federal gun charges.
T.I. released his debut album in 2001 and became one of rap’s success stories on the pop charts, thanks to Top 10 hits such as “Bring ‘Em Out,” ”Whatever You Like” and “Live Your Life” with Rihanna. He has won three Grammy Awards and collaborated with artists such as Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera.
His last studio release was the EP “Da’ Nic,” which he released independently last year. He’s been a mentor to rapper Iggy Azalea and has appeared in a number of films, most recently “Get Hard” opposite Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. T.I. also appears on the VH1 reality show, “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle,” with his wife and children.
Associated Press writers Kiley Armstrong, Tom McElroy, Mesfin Fekadu and Jennifer Peltz in New York contributed to this report.