T.I. Posse Member Killed

A Georgia man who was a member of the entourage of best-selling Atlanta rapper T.I. was killed and three others were injured in a gun battle along Interstate 75 in Cincinnati early Wednesday that began as a fight in a suburban after-hours club, police said.

T.I., whose name is Clifford Harris, 25, was not hurt.

T.I. started a national tour April 21st and was to perform at St. Louis’ Pageant May 3rd, but was forced to cancel the show because of the shooting. That gig was about to be rescheduled at press time, T.I.’s agent, William Morris Agency’s Cara Lewis, confirmed to Pollstar. All other shows on the books were still a go.

Witnesses told police the fight began at a post-performance party for T.I. and fellow rapper Yung Joc after they performed Tuesday night at Bogarts, a concert hall near the University of Cincinnati.

A dispute with some local people prompted T.I. and his group to leave the party, but they were pursued by two dark colored sport utility vehicles, police said.

A gun battle ensued, with members of the entertainer’s entourage shooting at the pursuing vehicles, police said.

Officers who arrived at the scene about 3 a.m. just north of downtown found four people with gunshot wounds. They were taken to University Hospital.

No arrests have been made. Police say the shooters were gone by the time they arrived.

Philant Johnson, 26, of Union City, Ga., described by a spokesman for T.I.’s Grand Hustle record label as his personal assistant, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Janice Gillespie, 22, of St. Paul, Minn., was admitted in stable condition. Bodyguard, Ronald Hausley, 40, of Mableton, Ga., and driver Elijah Edwards, 31, of Stratford, Conn., were treated then released.

The rapper started a nationwide tour April 21 and was to appear in St. Louis on Wednesday night. His CD King debuted at No. 1 on Nielson SoundScan 200 and sold more than 500,000 copies in its first week, the rapper’s record label said.

T.I. won the Street Anthem award for “U Don’t Know Me” during last November’s Vibe Awards. He also played a teen in an impoverished section of Atlanta in the movie “ATL” that came out this year.

The shooting shut down the freeway for several hours and delayed rush-hour commuters going downtown.

– Associated Press