Update: Busta Reps Say Rapper Attended Services, Pressure Mounts On Rappers

A wake for the slain

bodyguard of rap superstar Busta Rhymes was held yesterday (Feb. 9) in New York.

Mourners laid

Israel Ramirez, 29, to rest at the Century Funeral Home, where hundreds of family

and friends turned out.

Police believe

Ramirez was shot and killed as he shielded Busta Rhymes during an altercation

between a group of men during a video shoot for the rapper’s "Touch It

(Remix)."

Although over

500 people were on the set in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, N.Y., authorities

are reportedly being hindered in their investigation by the various rappers

witnesses have placed at the scene of the crime.

Police hope to

get a break in the case this week when they interview a bodyguard who was at

the scene of the crime. Police were waiting until Ramirez was laid to rest before

talking to the bodyguard.

Busta Rhymes is

now drawing criticism for skipping the wake and for his delay in contacting

authorities, who are seeking to re-interview him about the shooting on his video

set that left Ramirez dead.

The rapper initially

told police he was inside the studio with other Hip-Hop artists and celebrities

when the shooting took place. But police believe Busta Rhymes was feet away

from Ramirez when he was shot.

Ramirez’ family

members said the rapper admitted to witnessing the murder during a call he placed

to express his condolences to the family.

While Busta Rhymes reportedly offered to pay for funeral expenses, he did not attend the wake, where police

snipers were stationed nearby on rooftops. His absence at the wake drew the

wrath of Ramirez’ family members.

Authorities now

believe an argument between Ruff Ryders President Swizz Beatz and Tony Yayo

and G-Unit members spilled out onto the street, where the altercation took place.

On Monday (Feb.

6), Busta Rhymes’ manager and Violator CEO Chris Lighty posted a statement on

his blog.

"I have to

hope that my children or their children will one day know Hip-Hop without the

violence," Lighty wrote. "I am sorry and send out my regards to the

family of Israel Ramirez. I don’t know what happened as I wasn’t on the scene,

so I won’t comment. But it is a sad day when violence erupts and takes anyone’s

life.

"We have

to come together as a people and try to rise above the conflicts we have on

the streets of our neighborhoods," Lighty continued. "I am sure that

everyone has a comment and the press will blame Hip-Hop and rappers but none

of that is the case. Hip-Hop gave the opportunity for all these great stars

to come together for this."

Reports suggested

Busta Rhymes was simply trying to make peace on the street when the altercation

turned deadly.

After the argument

escalated, a man believed to be an associate of Tony Yayo’s allegedly fired

at least 8 shots, striking Ramirez once and killing him.

Police believe

Ramirez attempted to grab the gun as the trigger man opened fire near Busta

Rhymes.

Yayo, of Queens,

N.Y., released his major label debut Thoughts Of A Predict Felon in Aug.

2005. The album has sold almost 500,000 copies, powered by the hit single "So

Seductive," featuring 50 Cent.

Sources stated

that police believe the gunman is an associate of Tony Yayo’s from Brooklyn.

Authorities believe the gunman escaped in a car with the rapper, who has refused

to speak to police via his lawyer, Scott Leemon.

According to reports,

authorities considered checking to see if the rapper violated his probation

in order to detain and question him but later ruled out the option.

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