NEW YORK — Moments after he was shot inside a Manhattan nightclub, Robert Thompson looked up to see rapper Jamal "Shyne" Barrow holding a smoking gun, Thompson testified Thursday.
Thompson, one of three victims of the Club New York shootings for which Shyne is on trial, said he fell to the floor after being shot in the shoulder, and he saw Shyne holding a gun as he lay there.
But he still can't say for sure who shot him, Thompson said during cross-examination by Shyne's lawyer, Murray Richman. He revealed that he had told a grand jury he had no idea who fired the bullet that hit him.
Earlier Thursday, a Club New York security guard told the court that he saw Shyne fire a gun three times — once into a wall and twice into a group of people — in the early morning hours of December 27, 1999.
"I saw Mr. Shyne coming from the back of the club … running," security guard John Hassan Mahamah said. "Next thing I saw was fire right across my face. … I saw it was a gun."
Mahamah then said he saw bodyguard Anthony "Wolf" Jones grabbing Shyne to try to stop him from shooting.
"What is wrong with you?" Jones yelled at Shyne, Mahamah testified.
Jones faces bribery and gun-possession charges in relation to the Club New York incident. He has not been accused of brandishing or firing a gun. Sean "Puffy" Combs is also facing weapons-possession charges in the case.
Mahamah admitted during cross examination by Richman that he had told police shortly after the incident that he was unable to see the shooter's face. He explained that he had been in a hurry to return home that night so his family would not worry when they heard news about the shooting. He added that he was still shaken by the shooting when he spoke with police that night.
Mahamah also testified that he had no idea where Combs was when Shyne allegedly fired.
But, under cross-examination from Combs' lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, Mahamah acknowledged that he had told an insurance investigator that at the moment Shyne allegedly fired, he saw Combs holding Jennifer Lopez. He also said he had seen another security guard with his arm around Combs a minute before the shooting.
Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos has accused Combs of firing a gun at roughly the same time as Shyne.
Shyne stared intently at Mahamah as he described the shooting.
Another witness, rapper Gavin "Pretty Boy" Marchand, who is rapper Foxy Brown's brother, identified for the first time the man with whom Combs allegedly argued just before the shooting. Marchand identified the man by the street name "Scar."
Marchand initially backed away from his grand jury testimony that he had seen Combs and Scar arguing before the shooting, but relented after Bogdanos reminded him of his earlier statements.
Marchand also testified said that his perception was clouded on the night of the shooting, after drinking "a couple of bottles of champagne."
The rapper, a close friend of Shyne, testified that he didn't see who fired that night, because he hit the floor as soon as he heard the shots. Earlier in the evening, he had hugged Combs, putting his arm around his waist, and felt no sign of a gun, he said.
Both Mahamah and Marchand testified that they saw money thrown in the air just before the shooting, but neither saw who threw it.
The shootings at Club New York began after Combs got into an argument with a man who elbowed him after the rapper knocked over the man's drink while leaving the club, the prosecutor said in his opening statement. After someone threw a stack of money in Combs' face, Shyne is alleged to have opened fire, wounding three bystanders. Shyne is on trial for attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment and weapons possession. ([article id="1438616"]Click HERE[/article] for a complete explanation of the charges.)
Rap mogul Russell Simmons was in court Thursday morning, in what he said was "a show of support."
"I've never seen [Combs] with a gun in my life," Simmons said outside the courtroom. "It's a crazy idea that he'd be caught with a gun."
On Wednesday, Leonard Curtis Howard, a Combs security employee testified that he had never known Combs to carry a gun, adding, "If he is to carry a firearm, there is no purpose to me being around."