Suge Knight shooting casts pall over MTV Video Music Awards

The MTV Video Music Awards escaped the drama and damage of Hurricane Katrina. On Sunday night, they faced being overshadowed by another dangerous name _ Suge Knight.

The Death Row Records founder, who has been at the center of some of hip-hop's most violent moments, was shot in the leg early Sunday morning at a party thrown by Kanye West and attended by stars including Jessica Alba, Eddie Murphy, Paris Hilton, the Game and The Black Eyed Peas.

Although Knight's injuries were not life-threatening, the violence dampened the celebratory vibe of the event. MTV said the shooting would not affect the show.

"As with all of our events, MTV has a zero tolerance policy in regards to weapons and we take appropriate security precautions to ensure the safety of our guests," the network said in a statement. Media members were subjected to rigorous security measures, including bomb-sniffing dogs.

The show was being hosted by Diddy (the artist formerly known as Sean Combs) with performances by West, Mariah Carey, Green Day, R. Kelly, Shakira, Kelly Clarkson and others, plus appearances by Gwen Stefani, Destiny's Child, Eva Longoria and Jessica Simpson, to name a few.

The much-hyped white carpet _ one of the Diddy-designed effects _ was rolled out in the blazing heat Sunday afternoon, as throngs of media and about 200 fans waited beneath sunny skies for celebrities to arrive by car, limo and boat _ a likely pimp-my-yacht spectacle.

The awards, held in Miami for the second consecutive year, typically snowball into a weeklong party with decadent A-list bashes. But Hurricane Katrina _ which struck South Florida on Thursday, causing seven deaths and widespread damage _ led to the cancellation of some events. Several stars, like West, were late arriving to Miami because of the weather.

But after the storm passed on Friday, most of the events went ahead as scheduled.

West, the Grammy-winning, multi-platinum critical darling, threw two parties, and Saturday's event was perhaps the most coveted invite of the evening. A throng of people stood outside the entrance to the hotel; inside, revelers mingled in the courtyard while VIP guests were entertained in a special room.

Guests were not searched when entering the Shore Club hotel where West's party was held.

The shooting took place just before 1 a.m. Screaming guests fled the party, streaming outside or taking cover in other parts of the hotel. Police were at the hotel at the time of the shooting, yet made no arrests.

The burly Knight was one of the most powerful and feared music figures of the 1990s, with superstar rappers like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur in his stable.

His fortunes started to slide when Shakur was shot and killed in 1996 while riding in the passenger seat of Knight's car. The shooting took place after the pair participated in the beating of a gang rival in a Las Vegas hotel; the attack resulted in Knight being sent to prison for violating his parole.

Knight had been cultivating a feud with Diddy's Bad Boy label at the time in a so-called "rap war," and Bad Boy's top artist, the Notorious B.I.G., was gunned down months later in Los Angeles. Relatives of B.I.G. have accused Knight of involvement in that slaying, but police have never named him as a suspect.

Police said they had no suspects in the Miami shooting. Knight, a Los Angeles native, has a longtime association with the Bloods gang _ and a long list of enemies as well, AP reported.

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