A rapper whose concert in Little Rock was the site of a shooting that left 28 people injured has been arrested on unrelated assault charges outside an Alabama club where he was performing just 24 hours later, and authorities said several firearms were recovered during the arrest.
Ricky Hampton, also known as Finese 2Tymes, remained jailed without bond in Birmingham on Monday morning. He was arrested early Sunday on outstanding charges of aggravated assault with a gun out of Forrest City in eastern Arkansas, the U.S. Marshals Service said. A second man also was taken into custody, and two handguns and an assault rifle were seized from the Mercedes in which the two men were riding, said Cliff LaBarge with the U.S. Marshals Service in Alabama.
The firearms will be sent to a crime lab in Arkansas to determine whether they match shell casings found at the scene of the shooting early Saturday at the Power Ultra Lounge, said Little Rock Police Lt. Steven McClanahan.
McClanahan described the 25-year-old Hampton as a “person of interest” and said the rapper will be extradited to Arkansas so that police can interview him. Hampton is from Memphis, Tennessee.
McClanahan said no arrests have been made in the shooting in which 25 people between the ages of 16 and 35 suffered gunshot wounds, and three others were hurt afterward. He said police did not recover any weapons at the scene of the shooting, which authorities believe may have been gang-related.
“We are definitely looking at that possibility,” McClanahan said. “We know that gang members were present inside.”
Prison records from the Tennessee Department of Corrections show a Ricky Hampton with the same date of birth, home town and a similar appearance was released from prison in August 2016 after serving six years for two counts of aggravated robbery.
Material advertising the concert by Finese 2Tymes showed a man pointing a gun at a camera, drawing a rebuke from Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.
“The investigation into this crime continues in earnest, but it is clear that this was not an act of terrorism and does not appear to be a premeditated mass shooting,” Stodola said in his weekly “Monday Morning with the Mayor” newsletter. “Indications are that this was a terrible local tragedy stemming from a dispute between a small subset of individuals suspected to be involved in gang activity that turned violent because of the presence of existing rivalries and weapons.”
A message posted on the rapper’s Facebook page Saturday offered thoughts and prayers for those injured: “THE VIOLENCE IS NOT FOR THE CLUB PEOPLE. WE ALL COME WITH 1 MOTIVE AT THE END OF THE DAY, AND THATS TO HAVE FUN.”
The rapper’s Facebook page posted late Sunday a hashtag followed by “FREE2TYMES”.
A woman who answered a phone number listed on Finese 2Tymes’ Instagram account for booking said the rapper didn’t consider canceling the Birmingham show, despite the shooting, because he wasn’t responsible for what happened. The woman didn’t give her name before hanging up.
The volley of gunfire inside the Power Ultra Lounge came so fast that investigators believe multiple people had to have been involved. Police Chief Kenton Buckner credited quick work by first responders for there being no fatalities.
City officials said they would move Monday to shut down the club under a “criminal abatement” program. State regulators suspended the club’s liquor license Saturday, and a representative for the landlord’s office later posted an eviction notice on a door to the club. The notice stated that the club must move out of the property within three days “due to your failure to maintain the premises in a safe condition.”
About 30 people attended a news conference Sunday with Arkansas Stop the Violence, which is seeking more resources to fight poverty and crime in the southern half of the city. The event was held in front of a police station near where a boy was shot in a drive-by last week.
Murphy reported from Oklahoma City. Associated Press reporters Andrew DeMillo and Tafi Mukunyadzi also contributed from Little Rock, Arkansas.
Source: Associated Press