As Marion “Suge” Knight sat jailed on suspicion of murder, dueling narratives cast him as attacker and victim in the hip-hop music mogul’s latest and most serious run-in with the law.
Sheriff’s deputies said he hit and killed a man with his pickup truck, injured another and then fled. His lawyer said he was an innocent victim who accidentally ran over his friend and the other man as he tried to escape an attack.
He turned himself in and was booked on Friday.
The incident was the latest in a long line of brushes with death and the law for the 49-year-old founder of Death Row Records, one of the genre’s leading labels.
Knight started the label that helped solidify West Coast rap with Dr. Dre, who had been a member of the legendary group N.W.A. The label also launched the career of Snoop Dogg and had Tupac Shakur in the last months of his life.
The fatal incident occurred a short while after Knight was told by deputies to leave a film location where he had argued with someone, authorities said.
The cast and crew were taking a break from filming a promotional video for the biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” about the rise of N.W.A., according to a person familiar with the project who was not authorized to speak about it publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The argument resumed and escalated a short while later at a fast-food restaurant about two miles away, with Knight and the man exchanging punches through his open window. Knight then struck the man and a friend with his vehicle and fled, said sheriff’s Lt. John Corina.
Terry Carter, 55, Knight’s friend who authorities do not believe was involved in the altercation, died at a hospital, Corina said. The other man was identified by his manager as Cle “Bone” Sloan, 51, an actor and film consultant. He was hospitalized in stable condition, said manager Jermaine Shelton.
Corina said Knight backed up his pickup truck and knocked Sloan down.
“Then he puts the truck in drive, drives forward, running over him, and then keeps going forward and keeps on driving, and runs over Carter, who is standing in the parking lot, and keeps on going after that,” Corina said.