In an epic tale of life imitating art, rapper Rick Ross finds himself at the center of a police investigation involving the kind of street violence he often rhymes about in own songs.
According to law enforcement officials in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., the artist, whose given name is William L. Roberts, was behind the wheel of his Rolls Royce when shots rang out around 5 a.m. on Jan. 28..
Neither Roberts nor his passenger, 28-year-old Shateria L. Moragne-el, reported any injuries from the shooting or the car crash that occurred as a result of the gun play.
“Preliminary investigation has revealed that a 2011 silver Rolls Royce was traveling eastbound on East Las Olas Boulevard, approaching Southeast 15th Avenue. The occupants of the Rolls Royce heard multiple gunshots being fired in their direction,” said a statement released by Ft. Lauderdale police on Monday.
“The driver of the Rolls Royce attempted to drive away from the direction of the shots being fired and lost control of the vehicle, striking a nearby apartment building.”
The shooters sped from the scene before authorities arrived.
The sounds of bullets flying caught the attention of George Maznicki, who told CBS4, Miami’s local CBS affiliate , that he heard the altercation from inside a home in the area.
“It was rapid fire, 9 or 10 shots, rapid fire, rapid succession,” he said, “it was loud enough, not a hand gun, it was a rifle.”
The shooting could mean that friction between the 37-year-old rapper and members of the Gangster Disciples street organization has escalated the threats that have surfaced in YouTube videos.
In those Internet posting, gang members from states all across the nation have uttered threats against Roberts for infusing parts of their gang culture into his music without compensating the gang.
According to CNN, the gang became upset with Roberts for invoking the name of their founder, Larry Hoover, in his lyrics.
Roberts, who shares his stage name with real life drug dealer and inmate Rick “Freeway” Ross, told WEDR, a Miami hip-hop station, that he meant to only honor Hoover for his “scripture.”
Robert’s use of the six-point Star of David to make music and more importantly-- money--also upset the gang.
Threats made by alleged members of the Gangster Disciples in Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois and North Carolina warned the rapper about possible homicide attempts unless he “checked in,” or paid the organization money.
In an interview in December, Roberts said he cancelled the remaining performance dates on his Maybach Music Group tour. The cancellation was due to faulty tour promoting, not because he was concerned about death threats, he told 99 Jamz in Miami, mtv.com reported.
Ft. Lauderdale police say they are investigating.