Police Believe They Know Motive In Kurupt Bodyguard Killing

Say they hope for arrests soon despite uncooperative witnesses.

LOS ANGELES — Police said Wednesday (Oct. 20) they believe they know why at least two men attacked a bodyguard for rapper Kurupt and two friends of the rapper outside a recording studio Sunday night, leaving the bodyguard dead and the friends injured.

But Detective Jose Carrillo would not say what that motive was, and said eyewitnesses have been uncooperative.

Police are looking for two black males in the attack, in which 23-year-old Dwayne Dupree was shot several times in the chest.

"We're hoping to make an arrest soon; I don't know how soon," Carrillo said.

Daz Dillinger (born Delmar Arnaud), Kurupt's partner in Tha Dogg Pound, was working with Kurupt at Echo Sound recording studio Sunday night and was outside when the shooting happened, according to Carrillo. Six to eight people were outside at the time, including the three victims, the detective said.

"I don't know who the intended targets were," he said.

Police do not believe Dupree was shot as he was trying to protect someone; Carrillo said the victim was "running for his life."

Carrillo said he did not sense from speaking to witnesses that any of them were fearful before the attack. But he added, "Unfortunately, we're dealing with uncooperative witnesses."

He would not say whether Kurupt (born Ricardo Brown) witnessed the incident. Police spoke to Kurupt at the crime scene, said Carrillo, who declined to discuss the rapper's statements.

Kurupt, known for such songs as "Fresh" (RealAudio excerpt), is scheduled to release a new album, Tha Streetz Iz a Mutha, Nov. 2.

"We've spoken to an individual who identified himself as Kurupt, but not again since the initial interview," Carrillo said. "We're basically trying to play catch-up with all the work that we did out at the crime scene."

Echo Sound is a small recording studio in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. The victims were standing in a small parking area that also serves as a basketball court, with a hoop hanging on its south side. A gate slides shut to enclose the area, but was open at the time of the attack, Carrillo said. Several cars were parked in the area when the incident occurred.

Jevon "Realistic" Jones and Willard "Act Da Fool" Givers, who are friends of Kurupt, were wounded in the attack. They were treated at a hospital and released.

Carrillo said police know how the suspects were dressed, but he would not provide details. He said he did not believe the gunmen were wearing masks.

Police, who responded to a radio call around 11:40 p.m. Sunday, were told the suspects were on foot during the attack.

Shirley Hudson, 62, lives a few houses away from the studio. She said she woke up to several loud bangs that night and "thought it was Hector Mine coming at us again," referring to the earthquake that rocked California's Mojave desert Saturday morning. She said she chose to stay inside when she heard the police sirens, eventually falling back asleep.

"It's a scary thing to have happen so close to you," Hudson said Wednesday. "I just feel for the boy who lost his life."

Amanda Smith, 17, arrived about 9 a.m. for her first day at a business next door to Echo Sound, which she asked not be named. When she got there, she saw a taped-off crime scene and noticed police looking through a white car in the studio's parking area and searching through the surrounding field. Photographers were taking pictures of the crime scene, she said. Police escorted her inside her workplace. "Oh God, this is great," was how she recalled her reaction. "It was an exciting first day."

"But this is Hollywood — I've seen this kind of stuff before."

(This story was altered at 7:57 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 22, 1999.)