Back in L.A. word had spread around Blood organizations that Jake had died at the hands of Comb’s cousin and the Crips protecting Suge Knight who was targeted. Soon after an Atlanta newspaper identified Combs’ cousin as the murderer, although Combs denied involvement to a Vibe Magazine writer. “If I set a nigga up, which I would never do, I’m’a be in Bolivia somewhere.” He reported Death Row putting out a contract on his life. The magazine interview was not looked on favourably by Death Row’s camp. Later both parties met again at the Soul Train Awards in L.A. Bad Boy secured by a squad of ‘Fruits Of Islam’ soldiers.
After Suge’s release from the halfway house following the Stanley Brothers’ assault and robbery case, he spent the summer of ’95 travelling to the Danemorra state prison visiting fallen rap icon Tupac Shakur to secure the desperate star’s employment for three records to be released onto Death Row Records. This led to the ultimate demise of Tupac’s life. Siding with Suge Knight was in fact siding with the Devil himself. Death Row inherited Tupac’s violent beef with Bad Boys’ rapper, Notorious BIG fuelling the fire between both labels into disastrous consequences. Both Tupac and Suge Knight were antagonists by nature. They banded together under a common foe and went into battle, all the while Death Row’s dominance bounced back with the release of Tupac’s super-album ‘All Eyes On Me’ with him promoting Death Row to the world of hip-hop. Tupac would sell incredulously for Death Row voicing the apparent hatred of Bad Boy Entertainment on records for Suge Knight and surrounding himself in the company of Suge’s Mob Pirus.
Mark Anthony Bell Incident
It wasn’t long after another incident ensued in retaliation for Roble’s death. An unknown man working on behalf of Suge Knight attempted to persuade close friend of Puffy’s who was a local New York record promoter working independently to turn informant and give up Puffy’s home address and address of his mother’s in promise of a recording contract and money. Suge Knight wanted to hunt down and kill Sean Puffy Combs and his entire family it would seem according to L.A.P.D. crime reports.
New York promoter, Mark Anthony Bell was a high school friend of Puffy’s and occasionally worked for the record exec. As Bell reports, he was contacted in September following the murder of Jake Robles by an unnamed voice asking for him ti give up the home addresses for Puffy and his mother. He was asked to write the details down on paper and drop it outside his front door and that’s all he had to do. In exchange he would receive a record deal. Bell refused to participate.
Three months later in Los Angeles, Bell was over on business when his frind Roderick Nixon was commissioned to photograph the Death Row Christmas party in the Chateau Le Blanc mansion on Astral Drive in the Hollywood Hills. Nixon organised an invitation for Bell to the evening event. They arrived at the party at 22.30 whereas Suge and entourage didn’t arrive till around 02.00. When he did arrive he noticed Bell near the dance floor. Suge approached him and asked why he didn’t cooperate with his requests. After insisting his ignorance of such details, he was ushered into an upstairs V.I.P. room by six men, two of were recording legends, Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre. The room was filled with MTV reporters and a photographer being entertained. They were asked to leave by Suge’s brother-in-law, Norris Anderson who positioned himself outside the door as a lookout.
Inside, Suge pulled out a chair into the middle of the room for Bell and asked him to sit while seven men surrounded him. Suge demanded an explanation of his non-cooperation and quizzed him on knowledge of Puffy Combs. As Tupac whispered constantly in Suge’s ear, a Piru member started beating Bell with occasional blows dedicating each hit to Jake Robles vocally who eventually told him he was going to kill him. At which point Suge went to the bathroom and filled a champagne flute with urine and instisted Bell drink up. Bell escaped from the room and darted for the balcony overlooking the lobby entrance. He was caught hanging from the guardrail with an audience watching in awe. The group tried pulling him back up with the exception of Tupac who was pounding his grasped hands. When secured onto the floor they swooped onto him beating down on him with Suge ordering, “Body blows only!” He was choked until he almost fainted. Bell played dead while they stripped him of his gold Rolex watch, wallet and jewellery worth an estimated $20,000. Suge ordered him to stand.
Suge diplomatically tried to placate the victim into cooperating offering to make him rich and famous if he had friends who would deliver information leading to Puffy’s demise. After taking Bell to the bathroom to get his face and clothes cleaned up he told him if he wanted his jewellery back to see him tomorrow. A Blood asked Suge if he could kill him, but Suge passed. Bell’s life was spared. At this stage his friend Nixon had phoned the L.A.P.D. and fled the event. When questioned at the bottom of the stairs by a female officer, Bell who was pressured behind her shoulder as Suge stared him down and told her he had fallen down the stairs and everything was OK. The officer remained in the vicinity until a taxi arrived to drive Bell to a friend’s house in West Covina.
The following day Bell was hospitalised and treated for a haemorrhaging left eye, a laceration on his left elbow, an abrasion on his right arm, swelling behind the ear and bruises that covered most of his body. Four days later he did file a complaint report of assault and robbery to Hollywood L.A.P.D. station. However the district attorney’s office had refused to file charges due to the complaint coming four days after the assault compromising the case. The involvement of Suge Knight seemed too political to get involved with. Suge Knight was becoming untouchable. It wasn’t long after this Suge had renamed his record label, ‘The New and Untouchable Death Row Records.’
Mark Anthony Bell filed a civil lawsuit against Suge Knight and Death Row Records and had received a settlement of $600,000 and promptly migrated to Jamaica never to be heard from again.
Bruce Richardson Murder (May 1996)
Richardson was a well-known figure in South Central L.A. The owner of the Genius Car Wash at Crenshaw and 54th Street and just as famous for being a major drug dealer, Richardson was a former Blood gang member but had strong business relationships with both Bloods and the Rolling 60’s Crips. This was a very unique bond on the streets of L.A. Richardson was a hard man, a legendary street fighter unbeatable at hand-tohand combat, with a Karate black belt. He held a devastating reputation in downtown L.A. and instilled fear in almost anyone who crossed him, including Suge Knight who was a high school friend. Suge admired this reputation carried by Richardson until Suge captured the power and wealth of hip-hop in the palm of his hand.
However, Richardson refused to yield to this and openly disrespected Suge and decided to manage his own rap stars to beat Suge at his game. Signing notable talent, Dramacydal who became friends with Tupac and was promised a chance to back up vocals on ‘Pac’s All Eyes On Me album with a spot on his Outlawz click. Richardson consented on the proviso that Suge paid a percentage on the album’s royalties. Suge refused flatly and persuaded Dramacydal to leave Bruce and join Suge’s West Coast Management company. Richardson was enraged and confronted Suge out in a nightclub not long after. With a captive audience, he was able to slap Suge around and strike blows upon the ‘Untouchable’ before Suge’s Mob could contain the fighter. Publicly humiliated, Suge vowed revenge.
Two weeks later in May, Bruce Richardson was shot to death outside his home. Suspected shooters were Mob’s Roger ‘Neckbone’ Williams and Alton ‘Buntry’ McDonald, Suge’s most fearsome hit men. Nothing was confirmed and the murder is still unsolved.