Theater, police unaware of show's basis
Police link two shootings, a stabbing and a severe beating to fighting that broke out during a rap concert at the Orpheum Theater on Oct. 15.
Police reports said that between 30 and 80 people were involved in street fighting after the show, a rap revue called "Paid in Full" featuring rapper and film star Cam'ron.
Tom Hoch, CEO of the Historic Theater Group, said he witnessed a shooting at 9th Street and Hennepin Avenue, which was reported to police at 10:31 p.m. He didn't see the reported large crowd fighting, he said.
"I just have this vision of 'West Side Story,' and I just didn't see that at all," Hoch said.
Police Inspector Rob Allen, commander of the Downtown Precinct, agreed there probably were not scores of people engaged in fisticuffs near the theater. But there were two large groups of concertgoers in a dispute, which apparently stemmed from fighting that broke out in the theater during the concert, he said.
Police responded to a report of fighting at 801 Hennepin Ave. S. at 10:25 p.m. Upon arrival, they found two injured victims, one conscious but refusing to cooperate with police. The other victim sustained head trauma and a stab wound to the leg and was unconscious. Police Sgt. Medaria Arradonda said his injuries were not life-threatening.
At 10:31 p.m., police were called to a report of shots fired at 9th Street and Hennepin, where they found one victim shot in the ankle. A minute later, officers pulled over a vehicle at South 10th Street and Hennepin, where they found a passenger shot in the leg.
Lamar Burgess, 20, of Minneapolis, the driver of the car, was arrested and booked on suspicion of illegal weapons possession.
Some venues, notably the Quest, avoid booking groups that appeal to the "gangster rap" audience, to avoid mass confrontations.
An Orpheum ticket receptionist said that when the rap revue was booked, theater managers were not sure what kind of show it was. Hoch said the theater called at least three other venues where the act had previously appeared for reports of previous incidents. It received "a clean bill of health," he said.
According to the VH1 Web site, "Paid in Full" is designed to tie in with a forthcoming movie starring rapper Cam'ron. The film is a rags-to-riches story about three young men forming a drug cartel in 1980s Harlem.
Allen said he normally pays close attention to concert bookings in order to gauge how many officers he must assign on Downtown night shifts. But "Paid in Full" slipped under the radar, he said.
"We missed it," he said. "I assumed it was a play because it was the Orpheum. It didn't even dawn on me."
Police are investigating whether the melee was gang-related.