Busta Breaks Silence on Bodyguard's Murder
Mon, 13 Feb 2006 10:22:54
During a Busta Rhymes video shoot on February 5, Israel Ramirez -- who provided security and jewelry handling for Busta -- was shot and killed by an as-yet-unknown assailant. In the days that followed, the popular rapper (born Trevor Smith) faced mounting criticism about a reported refusal to cooperate with police on the case, and then failing to attend the first day of Ramirez's wake.
In a statement on Friday, Rhymes praised Ramirez as a "rare" friend and a "devoted husband and loving father." He went on to explain that he decided to attend Ramirez's wake on the second day in an attempt to save the family from "unnecessary media attention" -- a questionable plan that obviously backfired. Rhymes also reportedly told the victim's family that he would be sure to provide for Ramirez's three children.
New York police are hoping that Rhymes will cooperate with their investigation, but all reports thus far are that the rapper is proceeding with extreme caution. As documented in the past, any perception on the street that a rapper has become a snitch, regardless of context, can result in a severe hit in credibility and sales -- not to mention possibly posing additional safety concerns. All of this is a contributing factor to the accumulating unsolved murders in the hip-hop world: Biggie, Tupac, Jam Master Jay…and now the latest tragic figure, Israel Ramirez.
As for the investigation, early speculation has been centered on Tony Yayo, who, according to some reports, was seen fleeing the scene of the crime with the assailant. Yayo and other members of 50 Cent's G-Unit posse had been involved in an argument earlier in the day with producer Swizz Beatz. Yayo's attorney issued a statement declaring the rapper's innocence while simultaneously thumbing a nose at the prospect of investigators sitting down to talk with his client. Neither Yayo nor anyone in his entourage has been named as a suspect.
-- The ARTISTdirect Staff