Keith Bender Jr., the man police say was shot in the face by D12 rapper Proof during a fatal shootout at Detroit’s CCC Nightclub on April 11, has died.
Bender, who was 35, died early Tuesday morning (April 18) at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, according to hospital spokesperson Wende Berry. He had been listed in critical condition at the hospital and had been on life support since the shooting one week ago. Berry would not disclose whether Bender was removed from life support, but said “it’s safe to say that he died from his wounds.”
Proof — who, according to police, was shot once in the head and twice in the chest soon after firing on Bender — was pronounced dead on arrival at St. John Holy Cross Hospital the morning of the shooting (see “D12’s Proof Shot And Killed At Detroit Club” ). The rapper, who was born DeShaun Holton, was 32 years old.
According to witness accounts, investigators believe Proof shot Bender during an altercation at the after-hours club at approximately 4:30 a.m. Police allege that Bender’s cousin, Mario Etheridge, then shot and killed Proof. Etheridge was charged Friday with carrying a concealed weapon and discharge of a firearm in a building but not with Proof’s murder (see “Proof Shooting Suspect Charged — But Not With Murder”
). He was arraigned Saturday and has pleaded not guilty to both counts. Etheridge, a 28-year-old bouncer who was working at the CCC at the time of the shooting, has been released from the Wayne County Jail after posting bond. If convicted, Etheridge could face up to nine years behind bars.
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A public viewing for Proof is expected to be held Tuesday, with his funeral scheduled to take place Wednesday.
According to the Detroit Free Press, authorities in Detroit are expected to push for the CCC’s closure, which they will announce during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. The club, located on Eight Mile Road, has been a troubled spot for more than 10 years, according to a police spokesperson; officers have responded to 18 incidents there since 1996. The most recent visit by police came in December, when members of the city’s vice squad raided the bar and slapped its owners with six violations, most for serving alcohol to minors.
The Free Press reports that Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy will file a lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to board up the club. She will also be utilizing the attorneys under her command to help police crack down on similar establishments.