Authorities are investigating whether an argument between Swizz Beatz and Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks may have sparked the deadly shooting at Busta Rhymes' Brooklyn, NY video shoot for the "Touch It" remix.
According to investigators, Israel Ramirez was shot and killed roughly an hour after a heated dispute between Swizz, who produced "Touch It," Yayo and Banks, who appears on one of the song's remixes. Word is the three men proceeded to argue over who was getting to lay down tracks for the video. Tension reportedly rose as more members from various crews began crowding near the stage, prompting security to ask some to leave.
Police says Yayo began to trash talk about Cassidy to Swizz. Then, Banks, who was slated to shoot his part for the clip, refused to take the stage with Swizz nearby. Police says Yayo later stormed out of the set with his crew.
As tension remained high, an eyewitness overheard Busta approach Swizz, saying, "Yo, man, I got no problem with you. We're cool."
As SOHH previously reported, a source heard a man on the street tell a security guard he believes to have been Ramirez, "Yo, so-and-so's on his way over here, and some shit might go down."
Word is about 75 men stood in a circle on Green Street, where the Kiss The Cactus Production studio is located. As Swizz walked Bus a Bus back to his car, a confrontation erupted and shots were fired, one fatally wounding Ramirez.
"There was some pushing and shoving going on when an individual took out a gun and fired at least eight shots," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters at Police Headquarters.
Meanwhile, sources say the shooter was seen leaving in Yayo's vehicle. Scott Leemon, Yayo's attorney, faxed letters to the Brooklyn DA's office and NYPD detectives informing that the Queens rapper (born Marvin Bernard) would not speak to investigators about the murder. He has not been named as a suspect.
"I adamantly deny he had any involvement in the shooting of the security guard," Leemon told the New York Post. "Based on my advice, Mr. Bernard will not, and does not, speak to prosecuting authorities. He never has, and he doesn't plan on it."
Yayo is on federal probation for possession of a fraudulent passport. Commissioner Kelly also said the NYPD is looking for Busta and wants to question him. "We believe Busta Rhymes may have been on the street when the shooting took place," Kelly told reporters.
The tension between Swizz, Yayo and Banks may have started with their affiliates, Cassidy and 50 Cent. Early last year, Fif warned Cass to watch his mouth. The Philadelphia rapper retaliated by mocking 50 in his "B Boy Stance" video. 50 responded by mocking Cassidy in his "Piggy Bank" video.
According to the New York Post, Amelin Ramirez, Ramirez's widow, said Busta described the shooting during a condolence call. The Brooklyn rapper told Amelin Ramirez that the unidentified shooter yelled to her husband, "It has nothing to do with you, just get out of the way!" before firing several shots.
Word is Ramirez had been handling Bus' jewelry during the shoot. "Busta said he was standing right next to him when it happened," Amelin told the Post. Amelin said Busta didn't say anything regarding the shooter's identity.
Authorities were able to obtain footage from the video shoot and an MTV camera crew who documented the shoot during the day. Ironically, Ramirez had worked security for 50 previously. He was also a security guard at Club New York the night of Diddy and Shyne's infamous shootout.