LOS ANGELES — The man whom Marion “Suge” Knight is accused of running over with his truck called the former rap mogul and asked him to come by a Compton burger restaurant for a meeting, Knight’s attorney said Friday.
Tam’s Burgers was the site of the alleged hit-and-run by Knight on Thursday afternoon that left Terry Carter dead and actor Cle “Bone” Sloan injured.
James Blatt, Knight’s attorney, declined to say what the meeting was about but said Knight felt “safe” and that was why he agreed to meet.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the confrontation that ended in Carter’s death began about 3 p.m. Thursday when Knight and two unidentified men began arguing on the set of “Straight Outta Compton.”
About 20 minutes after the argument, the victims were at Tam’s Burgers near Central and East Rosecrans avenues. Knight was believed to have followed the men in his truck and run them over in the parking lot, said Lt. John Corina of the sheriff’s detectives unit.
But Blatt says Knight came to Tam’s at Carter’s invitation. After Knight left the film set, longtime friend Carter called him and asked him to a meeting at Tam’s, Blatt said. Knight was near the 105 Freeway when he turned around and headed back to the restaurant.
“Cellphone records will support this,” Blatt said.
When Knight pulled up, Carter was sitting in his own car. Four men, including Sloan, then approached Knight’s window and attacked him, Blatt said.
The attorney said that Sloan, an actor who appeared with Denzel Washington in “Training Day,” initiated the fight.
“It appears clear … Mr. Knight was physically assaulted while he was going to the location. His window was open and these four individuals grabbed him and beat him,” Blatt said.
As to why these men would attack Knight, Blatt replied: “It’s just too complicated to get into.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrested Knight, 49, early Friday on suspicion of murder. Authorities cited accounts from witnesses who said the driver hit the men with the truck, then backed over them before driving from the scene.
But Blatt said another witness told him the group of men was beating, threatening and attempting to drag Knight from his vehicle.
“He made an effort to escape, he was in fear for his life. And that’s exactly what he did.”
Blatt said Knight was “heartbroken” when he learned Carter had died. The two had known each other since the 1980s, were in business together for a time and were “good friends.”
The attorney said he expected the Sheriff’s Department to investigate whether Knight was ambushed. He maintained that Carter was just trying to help Knight when he was run over.
“He was trying to break up the fight,” Blatt said.
Knight’s attorney said he had asked detectives to comb the area for security cameras that could show the confrontation in hopes that it would exonerate his client.
Knight is being held in Men’s Central Jail on $2 million bail. Blatt said Friday morning that he was scrambling to gather enough funds to post Knight’s bail.
(Los Angeles Time staff writer Ryan Parker contributed to this report.)
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