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Member of rapper T.I.’s posse shot dead

Altercation at after-hours club led to running gun battle; no arrests yet
/ Source: The Associated Press

A member of the entourage of best-selling rapper T.I. was killed and three others were injured in a gun battle early Wednesday that began as a fight in a suburban after-hours club, police said.

T.I., 25, was not hurt.

Witnesses told police the fight began at a party for T.I. and fellow rapper Yung Joc after they performed Tuesday night at Bogarts, a concert hall near the University of Cincinnati.

A dispute with some local residents prompted T.I. and his group to leave the party, but they were pursued by two sport utility vehicles, police said.

A gun battle ensued, with members of the entertainer's entourage shooting at the pursuing vehicles, police said.

Officers who arrived at the scene near downtown found four people with gunshot wounds.

Philant Johnson, 26, was pronounced dead at a hospital. He was described by a spokesman for T.I.'s Grand Hustle record label as the rapper's personal assistant.

Three other members of the entourage were hurt. A Minnesota woman was hospitalized in stable condition. A bodyguard and a driver were treated and released.

No arrests have been made. Police said the shooters were gone by the time they arrived.

The rapper started a nationwide tour last month and was to appear in St. Louis on Wednesday night. His CD "King" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold more than 500,000 copies in its first week, the rapper's record label said.

T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, won the Street Anthem award for "U Don't Know Me" at last November's Vibe Awards. He also played a teen in an impoverished section of Atlanta in the movie "ATL" that came out this year.