Hip-hop mogul Suge Knight charged with murder

Former CEO of Death Row Records Suge Knight attends a 2007 BET Awards after-party on June 26, 2007, in Hollywood.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Last Updated Jan 30, 2015 7:16 AM EST

COMPTON, Calif. -- Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight has been charged with murder and was being held on $2 million bail, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Knight turned himself in to authorities early Friday after, his attorney said, the rap mogul accidentally ran over and killed a friend and injured another man as he fled attackers.

In a brief statement released early Friday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Knight, 49, was interviewed at the West Hollywood station with his attorney present.

"We are confident that once the investigation is completed, he will be totally exonerated," Knight's lawyer, James Blatt, told The Associated Press by telephone.

A red pickup truck struck the men at around 3 p.m. PST in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant and then took off, Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. John Corina told reporters.

"Looks like he drove backwards and struck the victims and drove forwards and struck them again," he said.

A 55-year-old man died at a hospital and a 51-year-old man was injured, but Corina did not immediately know his condition.

 

The empty truck was found late Thursday night in a West Los Angeles parking lot, Corina said.

Corina said investigators didn't have any witnesses who said Knight was driving it, but the rap mogul was seen driving a red pickup truck 20 minutes earlier in a different part of town where a video was being shot.

Knight got into some kind of argument at the earlier location and drove off, he said.

Witnesses said another argument developed at the restaurant parking lot before the accident, which Corina said was being investigated as a homicide.

"The people we talked to say it looked like it was an intentional act," Corina said.

Blatt said it was an accident.

"He was in the process of being physically assaulted by two men and in an effort to escape he unfortunately hit two (other) individuals," the lawyer said. "He was in his car trying to escape."

Knight founded Death Row Records, one of rap's leading labels, in the 1990s but later declared bankruptcy and the company was auctioned off.

Knight has a long history of run-ins with the law ranging from assaults to driving violations.

In November, he pleaded not guilty to a robbery charge filed over an incident in which a celebrity photographer accused him of stealing her camera in Beverly Hills. Because of prior convictions, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

He has prior felony convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun. He pleaded no contest in 1995 and was sentenced to five years' probation for assaulting two rap entertainers at a Hollywood recording studio in 1992.

He also serve timed for probation violations.

Last August, Knight was shot six times at a Los Angeles nightclub. No arrests have been made.

Death Row grew legendary rapper Tupac Shakur to fame. Knight was in the vehicle with Shakur when he was fatally wounded in Las Vegas in 1996. The label also launched the early careers of several rappers including Dr. Dre, The D.O.C. and Snoop Dogg.