For the last 20 years, Marion “Suge” Knight’s brushes with the law have landed him in and out of jail and on and off the 6 o’ clock news, causing some hiccups to his music career.
Knight now faces the most severe charges of his life with his arrest for the suspicious killing of his friend, 55 – year – old Terry Carter, following an argument they had on the set of a commercial for upcoming N.W.A. biopic, “Straight Outta Compton” – a film about the early rap era in Compton, where Suge is from.
On Friday, Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released details about the events leading up to the death of Carter, who was considered by some to be a model father figure for troubled young men.
On Saturday, Sheriff’s investigators reviewed a video of the incident in which Knight hit two men with his pickup truck, which may shed some light on whether Knight was the victim or the attacker in the incident. Knight’s attorney James Blatt asserts that he will review the footage on Monday, but spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said that detectives “have made no such arrangements with the attorney, nor did they have plans to show it to him.”
Ice Cube and Dr. Dre among others were on the set Thursday when the incident occurred. Deputies asked Knight, 49, to leave after he started arguing with another man, Cle “Bone” Sloan, according to Lt. John Corina.
Suge said that it was communicated to him by Carter, the man he struck and killed, that Dre invited Suge there to squash their beef, which Carter has no input on because he’s dead. But Dre denies extending an invitation to Knight for a “peace summit” – especially since Suge was shot at six times the year before in the same area, and Dre and his people didn’t want to get entangled in any ensuing drama.
Later that day at Tam’s Burgers at Central and East Rosecrans avenues, Knight was in his red Ford F-150 Raptor when he and Sloan argued again. While still in his truck, Knight and Sloan exchanged punches. Knight put his truck in reverse and knocked Sloan to the ground, Corina said.
Carter, who detectives say did not take part in the argument, died at the scene. Sloan, 51, who appeared in “Training Day” with Denzel Washington and is also a filmmaker and activist against gang violence, was reported as being in stable condition and expected to survive.
Knight reportedly drove off after hitting the men in his vehicle, without notifying authorities, Corina said.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Knight’s driver’s license was suspended and he wasn’t allowed to renew it due to an outstanding issue. In the past, his license was suspended for failure to appear in court.
Knight’s attorney described Carter as Knight’s good friend who was trying to break up the fight; his report of the altercation slightly differs from that of the detective. He contends that Knight was invited to the Burger joint by Carter, where Knight was accosted by four men including Sloan, and in defense of his life, tried to escape, running over Carter and Sloan in the process.
“I’ll say this – when someone is attacking you in the vehicle, grabbing at the steering wheel, you don’t have the best control of your vehicle,” said Blatt.
Knight was reportedly “heartbroken” when he learned Carter had died. The two had known each other since the ‘80s and did business together for some time, Blatt said.
Knight turned himself in for questioning Friday night at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s station. Within hours, he was booked on suspicion of murder and remains in the Men’s Central Jail while Blatt works on raising the $2 million bail.
The filming of the “Straight Outta Compton” commercial was a special occasion for the city once known for gang violence, recently revived by new business and a steady decline in homicides.
Prior to the incident (Wednesday night), Kendrick Lamar joined former N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dre and respective Compton natives to film the commercial at Tam’s Burgers, according to Janna Zurita, a councilwoman for Compton.
“It was such a joyous event. Dre was in the neighborhood (Compton’s first billionaire). The community was out. How could something so good turn so sour?” Zurita said.
“The acts of one man do not derail the movement we are doing here in Compton,” Compton Mayor Aja Brown said. “Thank you to Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Universal Studios, and the Grammys for telling the story of what Compton was and is becoming.”
Nina Bhadreshwar, who worked for Death Row Records from 1994 to 1996, wrote a trilogy of books about the label’s early days and remarked, “Knight was unable to leave his upbringing behind, becoming isolated and quick to react violently under stress.
“It’s just a shame that he carried on… playing into the role that people have made for him. He’s playing the role in a script that people have written for him, when he’s the one who wrote it first.”