Eminem Remembers Proof
Fri, 14 Apr 2006 11:03:46
Eminem broke his silence late Thursday (April 14) over the shooting death of his friend Proof, issuing a statement on his website calling the slain D12 rapper a "brother" and "my best friend."
"You don't know where to begin when you lose somebody who's been such a big part of your life for so long. Proof and I were brothers," the statement read in part. "He pushed me to become who I am. Without Proof's guidance and encouragement there would have been a Marshall Mathers, but probably not an Eminem and certainly never a Slim Shady. Not a day will go by without his spirit and influence around us all. He will be missed as a friend, father and both the heart and ambassador of Detroit Hip-Hop."
In a reference to the controversy surrounding details of the gun battle that took Proof's life, Em added, "Right now, there's a lot of people focusing on the way he died. I want to remember the way he lived. Proof was funny, he was smart, he was charming. He inspired everyone around him. He can never, ever be replaced. He was, and always will be, my best friend."
Meanwhile, Proof's attorney, David Gorosh, lashed out at Detroit police on Thursday for speculating that Proof fired the first shots. "To indicate that Proof pulled the trigger first is reckless and quite frankly it will be proved to be untrue," Gorosh told the Detroit Free Press. "Until all of the factual evidence has been evaluated, an opinion by the Detroit Police Department is premature."
The shootout's other victim, Keith Bender Jr., remains in critical condition at an area hospital. His family has also issued a public statement, describing Bender, a veteran of the first Gulf War, as "a warm, caring, giving and charismatic young man. To see him in his current condition is nearly unbearable. Please keep Keith and our family in your prayers as we work through this tragedy."
Police and prosecutors are still questioning the shooting's prime suspect and key witness, 28-year-old Mario Etheridge. Etheridge, a cousin of Bender's and former bouncer at the CCC Club where the shootings took place, turned himself in to Detroit police on Wednesday. According to hip-hop website SOHH.com, an unidentified source close to the case believes Etheridge chose police custody over risking retaliation from Proof's associates: "Proof frequented the place and there is of course no way the bouncer or anyone else in the club didn't know who he was."
Although police have not confirmed all the details, they have indicated that eyewitness accounts so far point to a verbal altercation that escalated into Proof pistol whipping Bender before shooting him in the face. They believe someone, probably Etheridge, then shot Proof three times in the head and chest.
Etheridge's attorney, Randall Upshaw, would neither confirm nor deny this his client fired any shots, insisting only that Etheridge was innocent of any wrongdoing and that "it was Proof that shot the first shot."
Proof's real name was Deshaun Holton, and he is survived by a wife and five children. No funeral arrangements have been announced.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff