Rapper Busta Rhymes has issued a statement about an early morning shooting last Sunday (Feb. 5) that took the life of his longtime bodyguard.
Authorities believe an argument between Ruff Ryders President Swizz Beatz and Tony Yayo and G-Unit sparked a deadly shooting on the set of a video shoot for Busta Rhymes’ single “Touch It (Remix).”
The argument spilled out onto the street and now police say two weapons were fired.
Authorities said eight rounds were fired from a .45 and five more were shot from another weapon.
Israel Ramirez, 29, was struck once in the hail of bullets and fatally wounded.
“I have sent my condolences to the Ramirez family during this time,” Busta Rhymes told AllHipHop.com in a statement issued by his attorney, Robert I. Kalina.
Busta Rhymes said Ramirez, 29, was more than just a security guard and labeled him “one of the rare friends that you come across that you can trust with your life.”
“The conversations I have had with Izzy’s wife have all been focused on comforting her and helping her get through this,” Busta Rhymes said. “To that end, I’ve assured her that I will be taking responsibility in making sure that my friend, a devoted husband and a loving father, is laid to rest in a proper fashion.”
Wakes for the slain bodyguard were held on Wednesday (Feb. 8) and Thursday (Feb. 9) in New York.
Busta Rhymes immediately drew criticism for not attending the first wake, but the rapper did attend the second day of services flanked by four bodyguards, where friends and family paid their last respects to Ramirez.
The rapper also offered an explanation for his absence at the first wake for Ramirez.
“Out of respect for the family’s desire for, and right to, privacy during this mourning period I made the decision to attend Izzy’s wake on the second day rather than the first, knowing that my presence [on Feb 8.] would have brought unnecessary media attention to a personal and private time of grieving,” Busta Rhymes said.
Funeral services for Ramirez are scheduled to take place today (Feb. 10) at the Church of the Ascension in New York.
While over 500 people were on the set of the video shoot in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, N.Y., witnesses, have been reluctant to come forward to speak to police.
Busta Rhymes initially told police he was inside the studio with other celebrities when the shooting took place, but other witnesses placed Busta Rhymes just feet from Ramirez when he was shot.
While the rapper expressed his sympathy for the family, he made no mention of when – or if – he intends to speak with police about the shooting.
“Beyond this [statement] I have no further remarks to make at this time,” Busta Rhymes concluded.
Authorities believe the gunmen are associates of Queens, New York rapper Tony Yayo.
Yayo has refused to speak to police about the shooting, according to his lawyer, Scott Leemon.