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Hip hop mogul Marion "Suge" Knight’s attorney says his client was attacked and feared for his life when he ran over two men in Compton, California, on Thursday, killing one of them.
Attorney Jim Blatt said Knight didn’t know he had struck anyone after the 2:55 p.m. incident, but when he heard about the allegations, he "contacted me and asked me to contact the investigating officer to arrange for his surrender." Knight, 49, is being held on a murder charge in what authorities are calling a hit-and-run in the parking lot of Tam's Burgers in Compton, which occurred shortly after a shoot for the NWA biopic, "Straight Outta Compton." The one-time head of Death Row Records is being held on $2 million bail.
"There is no question that 'Suge' Knight was physically assaulted by four men. They ran to his car. He opened his window on the driver’s side. They physically punched him grabbed him and tried to get him out of the car at the same time they threatened to kill him," Blatt said.
The attorney said that Knight "had a reasonable belief that he was about to be seriously hurt or killed, accelerated and made an effort to get away."
Sheriff's Homicide Detective Lt. John Corina told KNBC that the truck Knight was allegedly driving "drove backwards, struck victims, then went forward and struck them again as he left." Terry Carter, 55, was pronounced dead at the hospital and another man was injured, but his condition and identity were not released.
Blatt went on to say that the investigation in this case is beginning and that officers "have not interviewed every witness and are searching for a video that may have depicted the incident."
Blatt said he and Knight were cooperating with the investigation and would pass along any witness testimony they discover. "My client is hopeful that through this police investigation, they will find the video and other witnesses that will exonerate him," Blatt said.
Knight has had multiple run-ins with the law, dating back to the 1990s. He has served multiple years in prison for assault. In 1996, he was driving a car that was targeted by a drive-by shooting that resulted in the death of rapper Tupac Shakur. In August, Knight was shot several times at a West Hollywood nightclub.
Most recently, in October Knight was charged with robbery for allegedly stealing a paparazzo's camera.