New Allegations Surface Casting A Different Light On The Troy Ave Shooting
Last week (May 25), a fatal shooting transpired at New York City’s Irving Plaza. During a show billed to feature performances by T.I., Anderson .Paak, Maino and Uncle Murda, a green room altercation took place that left at least three wounded and one—Ronald “Banga” McPhatter–dead. In the hours following the incident (which is said to have transpired during Maino’s stage show), investigators arrested one of the injured, rapper Troy Ave (born Roland Collins) on May 26 and charged him with attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon. Simultaneous to said arrest and charges—11 seconds of video footage was released to apparently show the Brooklyn, New York native entering the venue green room lounge, and firing a pistol. It was reported by authorities that Troy’s gunshot wound to his right leg was from his own fire.
As the investigation got underway, New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton blamed the violence as a symptom of the “Rap community.” The commissioner was quoted as telling New York City AM radio station WORD 710, “The crazy world of the so-called Rap artists, who are basically thugs that are basically celebrating the violence they lived all their lives. Unfortunately that violence often manifests itself during a performance, and that’s exactly what happened last evening.” The leader of the NYPD continued, “The music unfortunately often times celebrates violence, celebrates degradation of women, celebrates the drug culture.” Never mentioning Troy Ave, or any artist by name, Bratton deduced, “It’s unfortunate — you’d like to think with all the wealth and fame that they’d turn their lives around, but they continue hanging out with the same people they hung out with when they come out of that life of desperation, poverty and crime.”
Following those remarks, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio spoke out, disagreeing with the commissioner in an interview with Power 105.1 FM’s Angie Martinez Show. “It’s not really right to see a whole genre through one eye. There are some Hip-Hop artists and folks in Hip-Hop who are doing amazing things for the world and there are some just trying to cash in,” the mayor said. “Look, there’s a glorification of violence throughout American culture. It goes far beyond Hip-Hop. Our movies, our TV shows, let’s face it. We have a cultural issue we have to deal with here.” The mayor, holds popular culture accountable.”I think there’s a bigger issue here. That is something that people need to say aloud. There is a culture of violence running through all elements of our mass culture.”
To make matters even more complicated, it was reported by Rolling Stone that investigators strongly considered the 11 second surveillance footage in determining Troy Ave’s arrest and charges. “This defendant is on video coming out of the VIP room where the individuals were shot,” Assistant District Attorney Christine Keenan said publicly. “He had the gun in his hand and was seen firing that gun in the direction of fleeing patrons.”
In a wheelchair, Troy Ave appeared in a Manhattan court room this week (May 30). The BSB leader plead not guilty to the charges—which could increase based on ballistic investigations surrounding the fatal bullets. Scott Leemon, one of Troy’s lawyers, vehemently denied the allegations, with an explanation. “The person who was killed at this event, he died a hero. He was [Troy Ave’s] bodyguard. He wasn’t shot by [Troy Ave]. He was a lifelong friend. This 11 seconds of video that the NYPD released, it doesn’t say what happened before, it doesn’t say what happened after. The scientific evidence will show he didn’t shoot himself.” Another attorney on Troy’s team, John Stella, responded to the police commissioner’s initial remarks. “In the Hip-Hop world, [Troy Ave is] not known as one of these troublemakers. He doesn’t live a Gangster Rap lifestyle.” One year ago this month, Troy Ave’s Empire-distributed sophomore album, Major Without A Deal would be his first to appear in the Top 200.
An investigation of the van used to take Troy Ave from Irving Plaza to a nearby hospital led to the discovery of at least one concealed firearm. According to The New York Daily News, one weapon is confirmed by ballistics research to be connected to shots fired inside the concert event. The artist was arrested following his hospitalization. There, he underwent surgery and recovered with police presence.
Others have defended Troy Ave. Shanduke McPhatter, brother of the deceased Ronald McPhatter, shared social media posts (as reported by Hip-Hop Wired) asserting a different version of the story than the one the police are suggesting. Shanduke claims the altercation began with a physical confrontation between Troy Ave and Tax Season podcast creator/host Taxstone (a/k/a Daryl Campbell). The two have been connected as rivals previously, with Troy having called out the audio personality by name. As reported by Sway In The Morning, another gunman, allegedly affiliated with Taxstone, initiated the gunfire, shooting Banga and shooting Ave in the leg. The gunman reportedly dropped the gun, and allegedly picked up the gun in pursuit of the shooter. News One previously tied Shanduke to the Bloods street gang, also crediting him as an advocate against gun violence. He founded organization Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes.
Brooklyn, New York veteran MC Maino was initially implicated by some reports (based on an eyewitness venue employee) to be in conflict with Troy Ave at the time of shooting. The onetime Atlantic Records sensation denied those reports, wishing Troy a fast recovery. The two artists have appeared on several songs together.
According to MSN, Troy Ave has been remanded without bail. He is expected back in court later this month, likely following the completed ballistics investigation.