Police have arrested and set $2 million bail for rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, the one-time head of Death Row Records, who allegedly drove into a group of people on Thursday in Compton, California, killing one pedestrian and injuring another in what officials are calling a hit-and-run, authorities told NBC News. Knight turned himself into Los Angeles police early Friday morning.
Knight, 49, surrendered with his attorney at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in West Hollywood just before 1 a.m. local time on Friday. Detectives were investigating the fatal car crash that killed a pedestrian and wounded another. Authorities said a vehicle drove into a crowd on a sidewalk on Rosecrans Avenue in Compton, hours after a video shoot in the area, and struck the two victims. Police had been trying to determine if Knight was the driver or passenger of the vehicle.
Knight’s attorney, James Blatt, had confirmed his client was the driver of the truck, but called the incident a “tragic accident.” On Friday, Blatt said his client was attacked and feared for his life when he ran over two men in Compton, California, on Thursday, killing one of them.
“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.”The truck “drove backwards, struck victims, then went forward and struck them again as he left,” Sheriff’s Homicide Detective Lt. John Corina told KNBC. The truck Knight allegedly drove later was found in Westwood, sheriff’s officials said.
Knight was working on the movie set for the new NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton.
Since the 1990s, Knight has had a series of high-profile run-ins with police. He served four years in state prison after sentenced in 1997 for violating probation stemming from a previous assault; he returned to jail in 2003 after assaulting a parking-lot attendant; and he pleaded guilty to drug and coercion charges in 2009, according to NBC.
Last August, he was one of two people shot at a pre-party for the MTV Video Music Awards, hosted by recording artist Chris Brown inside a West Hollywood nightclub. He later underwent surgery for the multiple gunshot wounds he endured.
And in October, Knight and comedian Katt Williams were arrested for allegedly stealing a woman paparazzi’s camera.
In 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur was a passenger in a car that Knight was driving when both men were attacked in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Shakur later died. The case was never solved.
Knight also has been involved in high profile feuds with many other industry leaders, including Puff Daddy, Kanye West and Snoop Dogg.
Knight has distanced himself from being involved in violence or wrongdoing. For example, he told author Jake Brown for his book “Suge Knight: The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Death Row Records,” published in 2002: “I’m in prison. But my heart and mind is free. Gangsta haters on the streets are doing more time than me. They need 30 police escorts with them every time they walk down the street.”
Andrew Blankstein contributed reporting to this article.