T.I.'s Assistant Killed in Freeway Shootout
Wed, 03 May 2006 16:58:05
Four people were shot, one fatally, during a freeway shootout in Cincinnati, Ohio that involved rapper T.I. and members of his entourage. The gun battle broke out in the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 3rd, on Interstate 75, following a heated argument that began inside the Ritz nightclub, where the Atlanta rapper and his crew were attending an afterparty following their show across town earlier that evening.
The dead victim of the shooting has been identified as 26-year-old Philant Johnson, T.I.'s personal assistant and close friend. Three other members of T.I.'s entourage were injured during the shootout, including 22-year-old Janice Gillespie, who remains in the hospital in stable condition; the other victims were treated and released.
Although police have not confirmed what started the gun battle, eyewitnesses told the Cincinnati Enquirer that locals at the club were offended by the behavior of T.I.'s entourage. When tensions began to escalate, T.I. led his crew out of the club and attempted to leave. But two SUVs followed T.I.'s group in their two vans on to the interstate, which is where all of the shots were fired.
This is the second shooting following an incident at Club Ritz in less than a year. In July of 2005, three people were shot right outside the club after a fight spilled outside. Community leaders and local police have campaigned to shut the club down, but the Cincinnati City Council voted just prior to the 2005 shooting to let it continue doing business.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff