Wu-Tang Clan Investigated For Inciting Riot At Show

Now the Wu-Tang Clan are under investigation for allegedly starting a riot at a concert in Indiana that left one concert-goer dead from an apparent heart attack.

This most recent development in troubles plaguing the Clan has caused increased speculation about what led to the bandÕs decision this past week to bow out of the popular genre-blending tour with Rage Against The Machine and Atari Teenage Riot.

Meanwhile, representatives from the band continue to be tight-lipped about a variety of potential police charges which have surfaced in the past week involving the band, including allegations that four members beat an employee at their label over comments he made to a radio station.

The popular Wu-Tang told Rage they were leaving the tour with little fanfare on Tuesday; in the two days preceding the announcement, the Staten Island, N.Y. rap collective had missed two performances. As if the Clan's exit from the successful tour was not surprising enough, details about the police investigation into four members of the Wu-Tang for allegedly battering an employee from their record label after a concert in Tinley Park, near Chicago are slowly coming to light.

As new information surfaces, it was learned that authorities in Indiana are considering whether to prosecute the nine-member Clan on riot charges stemming from a show in Indianapolis on Aug. 28. That show ended with one fan being taken away by ambulance and later pronounced dead. It is unclear whether the alleged riot contributed to the death.

An official statement from the Wu-Tang's label, Loud Records, is expected sometime on Friday. So far, the label and its publicity firm, PB&J, have issued steely "no comments" when questioned about the tour, the battery allegations and the potential riot charges.

Investigator Steve Vaccaro of Tinley Park Police Department said Thursday that his office was investigating allegations filed against four members of the Wu-Tang, as well as three people in their

entourage for beating a marketing and promotions manager at Loud after their concert at the New World Music Theatre in Tinley Park near Chicago on Aug. 29. "We're looking to contact the members personally and give them an opportunity to come into our department here for an interview," Vaccaro said.

Although he would not say which members were involved,

Rolling Stone reported that Method Man, Raekwon, GZA and Inspecta Deck, as well as the group's manager and its accountant, allegedly took part in the incident.

The victim sustained injuries to his head and hands. He alleges that the Clan beat him in their dressing room because of a live radio interview earlier in the day, during which he revealed the locations of the Wu-Tang's after-concert parties scheduled for that night.

While police continuing that investigation, Hamilton County, Ind. Prosecutor Sonya J. Leerkamp is deciding whether to press charges against the Wu-Tang Clan for allegedly inciting the riot at the Deer Creek Amphitheater in Indianapolis.

Lt. Ray Robert, who filed a police report after the concert, said

the Clan was "going through their second song and they just started telling people to, 'Come on down,' 'Come up on stage.' The people didn't come up on the stage, but they all started coming down. There were probably about 5,000 or 6,000 people who started to rush the stage. Two or three rows of seats were torn up, and there were some people, not injured bad, but who had bruises and scrapes."

Later, during the second song by headliners Rage Against the Machine, 17-year-old Brad Gavin of Fort Wayne, Ind., fell to the floor. Medics were summoned, and Gavin was taken to Riverview Hospital where he was pronounced dead. While tests are not yet complete, it is suspected that Gavin suffered a heart attack.

Robert said that whether Gavin's death and the Wu-Tang's invitation to rush the stage are related is still being considered. According to Robert, all members of the Clan had urged fans to come down to the stage, and that if charges are filed, they would involve the whole group.

A statement issued by Rage Against the Machine's label Epic on Thursday officially announced the Wu-Tang Clan's departure from the tour, and asserted that the group had assured Rage before the tour's start that the group would perform at all scheduled dates. Philadelphia hip-hop artists the Roots have been tapped to take the Wu-Tang Clan's place at most of the shows. Foo Fighters will fill in on the outing's final two nights. [Fri., Sept. 5, 1997, 1 p.m. PST]