As gunfire was erupting from as-yet-unknown assailants outside, Bad Boy rapper French Montana, 28, was sitting on his tour bus Thursday night unaware of the deadly firefight that took the life of a man a short distance away.
Police continue to investigate the shooting and are seeking a motive. A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department told MTV News that it doesn’t appear that French (born Karim Kharbouch) was the target of the attack.
“[He] was doing a show at the [Theatre of the Living Arts] with Meek Mill and they boarded the tour bus to go back to a hotel on Delaware Avenue where they were scheduled to have an afterparty,” said spokesperson Officer Christine O’Brien. When they arrived at the Holiday Inn Express around 12:10 a.m., the 100-plus people gathered outside the hotel crowded around the bus. A short time later, a black four-door sedan pulled up and chaos erupted.
“It drives by and a passenger from that vehicle fired several shots,” according to O’Brien, who said police do not typically share the amount of shots fired or the type of weapon used in such an incident.
Jowann King, 26, of Flushing, New York, was shot in the chest and transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Another victim, an unidentified 29-year-old man, was hit in the shoulder and taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in a private vehicle.
O’Brien said the car that the man was riding in had been hit with gunfire and had several bullet holes in it. The second victim was treated and released.
As of press time, police investigators were still trying to sort out which of the people in the crowd were traveling with the rapper and which were fans or bystanders as well as what, if any, connection the two victims had to French.
“They are still interviewing a ton of people,” said O’Brien, who noted that Montana had already given a statement to investigators. “From what we were told he [Montana] was on the tour bus at the time and was not even aware of the shooting. The captain [in charge of the investigation] said everyone in [Montana's] group was more than cooperative with police.”
Gunfire from two semi-automatic handguns was returned at the black sedan from two unknown individuals in the crowd and O’Brien said that no shots were fired from inside the tour bus. Police have spoken to those two individuals and are looking into the status of their permits to carry the weapons.
Following his questioning by police, Montana — who told VladTV in 2008 that he was shot in the back of his head before he rose to fame — told reporters outside police headquarters, “nobody was shooting at me.”
It was just a few weeks ago that Montana told MTV News that he was reminded to be on guard after his friend Rick Ross was targeted in a Florida drive-by shooting. No suspects have been arrested in that January 28 incident.
“I was with him that night. It was his birthday at Club Liv. I was like the last person that walked him to the car before he drove off,” Montana said. “When it’s your birthday, you think everybody loves you. You’re not thinking nothing of it … You just always gotta protect yourself.”
Shortly after the shooting, Montana uploaded a picture to Instagram of his artist Chinx Drugs being interviewed by a member of the Philly PD with the tagline, “nobody got time for this s—.” Things seemed way more positive just an hour before, when the rapper posted a photo of him mugging on his tour bus with Philly native Mill under the title, “tour bus life.”
Montana’s next show is scheduled for Friday night at the Brighton Music Hall in Boston.