Morgan Zalot, Emily Babay and Allison Steele, Breaking News Desk
Friday, March 1, 2013, 6:10 AM
Police are trying to determine the target of a spate of gunfire in Old City late Thursday night that left one man dead and another wounded after a rap show.
Cops said a tour bus carrying the crew and entourage of rapper French Montana left a show he headlined at the Theatre of Living Arts on South Street late Thursday night, with cars of fans in tow.
When the bus pulled over around midnight on Christopher Columbus Boulevard near Race Street, outside the Holiday Inn Express where the group had rooms reserved for an after-party, police said a crowd formed outside the bus.
A four-door sedan pulled up, rolled down a window and fired into the crowd through a window, Philadelphia police Capt. James Clark said. Clark said 26-year-old Jowann King, of New York, was shot in the abdomen and was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Another man, a 28-year-old from New York, was shot in the shoulder and survived. The man, whose name was not released, was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in a private vehicle and was listed in stable condition, police said.
Police are still determining who the intended victim was.
"We're still trying to get a bigger picture on who the target was," Clark said.
King is not believed to have been a member of Montana's direct entourage, police said.
Clark said investigators are continuing to question witnesses to sort out what happened.
After shots were fired from the sedan, at least two people in the crowd pulled guns and fired back. No shots were fired from the tour bus, Clark said. He said Montana and Meek Mill -- the Philadelphia-born rapper infamous for his legal run-ins in the city -- were both on the bus during the incident.
A stream of about two dozen men and woman walked out of Philadelphia police headquarters Friday morning after being questioned in the shooting, and piled into a police van to be taken elsewhere. Many were members of Montana’s entourage, and wore jackets and shirts bearing the words “Coke Boys,” which is the name of Montana’s group.
Several repeated “no comment, no comment” when asked about the shooting, and said they did not know the identity of the man who was killed. One man said Montana was not the target of any violence.
“Make sure y’all crack down on these gun problems,” said the man, who did not identify himself. “There’s a lot of guns in the city.”
Clark said Montana and his entourage had been "very cooperative."
The rapper told reporters outside police headquarters that "nobody was shooting at me."
Police are working to obtain surveillance footage and asking for information from witnesses.
"We believe someone saw something," said Clark, who noted that there were hundreds of bystanders.
"It could have been a lot more tragic," he said.
Cops found at least seven shell casings near the tour bus in the northbound lanes of Christopher Columbus Boulevard. Chief Inspector Scott Small said a car found unattended parked on 10th Street near Jefferson Hospital’s emergency room was riddled with bullet holes and being held for fingerprints. Police believe that car took the surviving victim to the hospital.
Investigators said they found narcotics stuffed into chair cushions in the lobby of the Holiday Inn where witnesses were held after they were taken to the Homicide Unit.
According to his online biography and a preliminary interview he gave to investigators, French Montana is the CEO of Cocaine City Records in New York City. The 28-year-old Moroccan-born rapper hit Philadelphia as part of his “Excuse My French Tour” to promote his debut album, which drops in May, his website says.
The rapper, who earlier Thursday tweeted a shout-out at Meek Mill didn’t appear to be fazed by the violence that erupted outside his tour bus. Shortly after the shooting, he tweeted an Instagram photo of a police officer interviewing a man in the Holiday Inn lobby with the caption, “nobody got time for this shit” (see screenshot above).
Early this morning, a fire roared in the hotel lobby of the Holiday Inn Express, and the empty bus was still parked across the street with an NBA game playing on a television inside. Three workers, including a desk clerk, said they saw the cars pull up at the time of the incident. But, they said they didn't hear or see anything, and were surprised there was a shooting.
Later in the morning, about 20 people mingled in the lobby area. One patron who was staying at the hotel overnight said a car was on fire in the parking lot just before the shooting and police were already on the scene investigating that fire.
The patron reported hearing about a dozen shots fired around Montana's bus.
Staff reporter Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman contributed to this report.
Morgan Zalot, Emily Babay and Allison SteeleBreaking News Desk