Proof Liable For Shooting Death, Lawsuit Claims

Family of Keith Bender Jr. seeks unspecified damages from rapper's estate.

It has been four months since D12′s Proof was killed outside a Detroit nightclub during an early morning shooting incident that also claimed the life of Army veteran Keith Bender Jr. Now Bender’s family has taken legal action against the late rapper’s estate.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the suit was filed Tuesday in Michigan’s Wayne County Circuit Court, and seeks an undisclosed amount in damages.

The filing states that Proof, who was 32 at the time of his death, is liable for attacking and critically wounding Bender during an April 11 fight at the CCC Club along Detroit’s Eight Mile Road (see “D12′s Proof Shot And Killed At Detroit Club” ).

Proof sustained a gunshot wound to the head during the incident and died that morning. Bender, who police say was shot in the face by Proof during the altercation, died April 18, following a week on life support (see “Man Allegedly Shot By D12′s Proof Dies” ).

An earlier lawsuit filed by Bender’s family was dismissed, the Free Press reports (see “Proof’s Estate Sued By Shooting Victim’s Family” ). The suit filed Tuesday claims that Proof was known to carry weapons and had a history of criminal acts of violence. It states that the two men started fighting inside the club, but things escalated when Proof allegedly drew a gun and shot Bender.

According to police, Proof then stood over Bender and pointed his gun at the fallen man as if he were going to fire off another round. That’s when one of the club’s bouncers, Mario Etheridge, pulled out a gun and shot twice at the ceiling before turning the gun on the rapper.

Etheridge, Bender’s cousin, was charged three days after the shooting with weapons violations but not with Proof’s homicide. In late May, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said that Etheridge acted in his cousin’s defense and would not face murder charges related to the shootout (see “Prosecutor Says Proof’s Slaying Was Justified” ).

David Gorosh, a lawyer who had represented Proof in the past, could not be reached for comment.