Driver Involved In Shooting Of T.I.'s Friend Gets 17 Years

Padron Thomas drove vehicle from which his brother shot and killed Philant Johnson.

The driver of the vehicle involved in a gunfight on a Cincinnati highway that resulted in the death of rapper T.I.'s boyhood friend was sentenced on Wednesday to 17 years in prison, according to The Associated Press.

Padron Thomas, 41, was sentenced on gun charges, stemming from the 2006 incident in which Philant Johnson, 26 — T.I.'s friend and assistant — was shot and killed. Thomas, who was also sentenced for unrelated federal drug charges, told the judge he was a "knucklehead" and wished he could undo the damage he had done.

Last December, Thomas testified against his younger brother, Hosea Thomas, who was sentenced to 66 years to life in prison for pulling the trigger in the shooting. Because of his testimony, the elder Thomas received a reduced sentence for his participation in a drug ring that transported marijuana from California to Cincinnati.

On May 3, 2006, the Thomas brothers went to Club Ritz in Cincinnati, where T.I. and rapper Yung Joc were appearing at an after-party following a local performance. Hosea Thomas was said to have become angered when he was denied access to a VIP room at the club. A scuffle broke out, and Thomas was reportedly hit in the head with a glass bottle.

Soon after, T.I. and his entourage left the club in two vans. The Thomas brothers pursued the group in a Jeep Grand Cherokee, with Padron at the wheel. The Jeep pulled alongside T.I.'s van, and Hosea began firing. Johnson was killed, and three other members of T.I.'s crew were injured. T.I. himself was unharmed during the incident.