Wednesday, January 30, 2013

So was it staged? Rick Ross drive by shooting called into Question

The drive-by shooting that targeted rapper Rick Ross has been called into question as details continue to surface, leading many to believe the incident may have been a publicity stunt.

At around 5 a.m. Monday morning, an unidentified gunman opened fire on Ross and his companion, fashion entrepreneur Shateria L. Moragne-el, as they cruised on Las Olas Boulevard and Northeast 15th Avenue. "I just heard a bunch of gunshots go off," said an unidentified woman during a 911 call.

When the operator asked how many shots were fired, the caller replied, "I don't know, they're coming back, I'm hiding," and hung up. The rap artist, who was out celebrating his 37th birthday, attempted to outrun his shooter, but the barrage of bullets caused him to lose control of his silver 2011 Rolls-Royce and crash into a nearby apartment building.

None of the assailant's bullets hit Ross' car, which has some prominent figures casting doubt on the incident's authenticity. "Some people are wondering how you shoot at a Rolls-Royce, and you miss it [even though] it's so big," said Shelby Rushin, a DJ at the hip hop and R&B radio station 99 Jamz.

Rapper 50 Cent took to Twitter to express his skepticism about the incident. "Hahaha fat boy hit the building, lol it looks staged to me, no hole's in da car," read his tweet.

Calls by 7News to Ross' publicist were not returned.

Some have speculated that a Chicago gang is responsible for the shooting as retaliation for Ross using the founder's name in a rap video. "I really don't know if that was the reason," said Rushin. "You hear so many different stories."

"I don't think it was a hoax," said Derrick Baker, Program Director at 99 Jamz. "We've heard everything from, 'It was Stevie Wonder that was driving by' to Manti T'eo's girlfriend having something to do with it," he continued.

Baker, a friend of Ross, said he is relieved the rapper is out of harm's way. "To lose someone like that would have been terrible," said Baker. "I'm glad that he's fine, and we look forward to him coming back and putting out some great music," he continued.

Baker indicated that someone as wealthy as Ross does not need to stage an attempt on his life for attention. "I don't think you need to crash a nice Rolls-Royce into a building to get that kind of publicity," he said.

Several storefronts on Las Olas Boulevard were still boarded up Tuesday. Fort Lauderdale detectives continued checking all leads and looked at surveillance video.

If you have any information on this shooting, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward

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