One dead, one injured in shooting spree after rapper French Montana's concert

Philadelphia police near the tour bus of rapper French Montana on Delaware Avenue.
Philadelphia police near the tour bus of rapper French Montana on Delaware Avenue. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 04, 2013

The rapper French Montana and his entourage left Philadelphia on Friday afternoon after a day spent answering questions from detectives about a late-night shootout that erupted near Montana's tour bus, leaving one man dead and another injured.

After Montana's sold-out show Thursday night at South Street's Theater of Living Arts, the rapper's bus was parked near the Holiday Inn Express on Columbus Boulevard around midnight, surrounded by hundreds of friends and fans, when a car with tinted windows drove up and shots were fired from a rolled-down passenger-side window. At least two people in the crowd pulled guns and fired back, said Philadelphia Police Capt. James Clark.

Jowann King, 26, of New York City, was hit in the abdomen and pronounced dead at a hospital. He was not believed to have been part of Montana's entourage, police said. A 28-year-old man from New York was shot in the shoulder and treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

The motive remained unclear Friday, Clark said, and there was no immediate sign that Montana was the target. Montana and his entourage, Clark said, were "very cooperative" with police.

Outside Police Headquarters on Friday, Montana told reporters that he felt bad about what happened but that he was not involved. "Nobody was shooting at me," he said.

The Moroccan-born, Bronx-based Montana is seen as an up-and-comer in the rap world. "Pop That," the first single off his forthcoming debut album, hit No. 2 on the Billboard charts for rap and R&B/hip-hop songs last year.

Philadelphia was the second stop on Montana's just-launched national tour. Though he had been scheduled to perform Friday night in Boston, Ticketmaster.com indicated that the show was canceled.

After the show at the TLA, Montana's entourage headed to the hotel for an after-party, police said, followed by hundreds of people in a caravan of cars. As members of the entourage were getting off the bus, the black four-door sedan pulled up and gunshots rang out.

"We were sitting here, minding our business," the driver of the bus said Friday afternoon. "Then bang, bang, bang."

Montana was in a soundproofed studio in the back of the bus at the time, a police source said, along with Meek Mill, the Philadelphia rapper who made headlines last year after claiming police harassed him during a car stop. Meek Mill, who had appeared onstage with Montana during Thursday's concert, apparently left the scene before police arrived.

An Audi in the hotel parking lot was set ablaze about the same time as the shooting, though police said they were trying to determine if there was a connection.

Detectives interviewed more than two dozen witnesses, many of whom were members of Montana's entourage. They left Police Headquarters in a steady stream Friday morning, wearing jackets and shirts bearing the words Coke Boys, the name of Montana's group. Several repeated "no comment" when asked about the shooting, and said they did not know the man who was killed. They also said Montana was not the target.

"We were just in a bad city at the wrong time," one man said.

Police spoke with at least two people who admitted firing weapons, but Clark said they had permits to carry and no charges had been filed. Investigators are working to obtain surveillance footage from the area and asking for information from the hundreds of bystanders.

"We believe someone saw something," said Clark.

Police also searched Montana's tour bus, which is emblazoned with the cover art from Montana's coming album, Excuse My French. Officers told members of the group they could return to the bus around 1:30 p.m., and within 15 minutes the bus had pulled away from the curb.

Shortly after 4 p.m. Friday, Montana tweeted, "My bus was located in the vicinity of the incident that took plac last night in Philadelphia. I had a peaceful concert and was not involved. My deepest thoughts and sympathies go out to the families of the victims, as well as all of those who were affected."

A Montana performance last week was also shadowed by violence. A car-to-car shooting and fiery collision in which three people died on the Las Vegas Strip followed an early morning show at the Aria resort Feb. 21.


Contact Allison Steele at 215-854-2641 or asteele@phillynews.com.

Inquirer staff writer Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman contributed to this article.

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