Police said 14 shots were fired from an AK-47 assault rifle outside the studio. Police are looking for a man they say gunned down a security guard at a video shoot. Rhymes was inside the studio at the time and was not injured and at deadline it is unclear whether the incident had any connection to the artist. Surveillance tapes are being analyzed for evidence.
Israel Ramirez, 29, a relatively new addition to the rappers' security detail, was shot once in the chest around midnight in front of 259 Green St. in Greenpoint, where up to 500 people, including several hip-hop artists, gathered for a filming of the rapper's hit single police and witnesses said.
Busta Rhymes, who was unhurt and may not have heard the gunfire, was filming footage inside the studio at the time, an employee of the studio said. The rapper left before he could be questioned.
Missy Elliott was at the studio, but also left before police could talk to her, police sources said. Those sources also confirmed that rappers 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks along with singer Mary J. Blige, who also raps on the single, had been expected in the studio, but it was unclear whether they were there at the time of the shooting.
A spokesperson for Busta Rhymes or his record company could not be reached.
Ramirez was standing outside the building, while recording took place in a ninth-floor sound-proof studio, police said.
The shooting occurred as a large group of people spilled out from the warehouse onto the street and several of them began arguing, police said. The origin of the dispute was not clear, but more than 10 shots were fired from at least one gun, police sources said.
"Everyone started hiding. People started running," said a studio grip, who declined to be identified, but said he was inside the studio and hid behind a scissor lift with 20 others. "It was a chain reaction; people just running everywhere."
Ramirez, of 200 W. 107th St. in Morningside Heights, was shot once in the chest and pronounced dead at Woodhull Hospital Center at 1:10 a.m., police said.
No one was arrested in the shooting, but police said they were looking for several people who were there to understand what happened.
Hours after the shooting, police recovered a small, silver handgun with a black grip about 100 feet across the street from the studio.
The business is part of a network of production studios in Brooklyn that operate under the name Broadway Stages. A woman who picked up the phone at the company's main office declined to comment.
A resident says it's been a long time since this neighborhood has seen this kind of violence.
"I've noticed that this neighborhood has changed over the last few years in terms of soundstages being developed and a new arts community thriving. We haven't heard of this kind of news since the 1980's when there was so much gang violence and street violence rampant in our community," he says.
"It's kind of disheartening to know that after so many decades, there is a looming threat of that kind of street violence once again emerging in this neighborhood."
No word yet on a motive for the shooting, or any possible suspects.