The man who says he witnessed the street-level shooting that landed Megan Thee Stallion in the hospital testified Tuesday that he saw an initial muzzle flash near two women fighting then a “very agitated” man alleged to be Tory Lanez “firing everywhere.”
Sean Kelly, who was in his bedroom shortly after 4 a.m. on July 12, 2020, told jurors he peered out his window on Nichols Canyon Road in Los Angeles and saw four people fighting and shouting at each other during a “quite violent” confrontation.
Kelly was called as a defense witness at Lanez’s felony assault trial because he told a defense investigator in January 2021 that he believed he saw an initial muzzle flash closest to a woman’s hand during a purported physical altercation between Megan and her former friend Kelsey Harris near an open door of Lanez’s Cadillac Escalade. His testimony, intended to generate reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors, may have done the opposite.
Kelly testified under oath that while he believes one of “the girls” fired the first shot, he saw the “smaller gentleman” fire four or five subsequent shots in quick succession, causing a woman to fall to the ground bleeding. And he told jurors the men viciously beat a female victim as she lay in a “fetal position” on the ground.
“I want to be clear, I never saw a gun, OK, I just saw flashes,” Kelly testified.
“Whose hand did you see the flashes from first?” George Mgdesyan, Lanez’s lawyer, asked.
“The girl,” Kelly replied. “But they were all together, they were very close together.”
Kelly waffled on whether Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, was still inside the vehicle at this point. At first, he placed Peterson inside the SUV during the initial alleged gunshot. Then he vacillated, telling Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott that Peterson — repeatedly referred to as the “shorter” male — may have been outside already.
“This wasn’t something that took a long time,” he said.
“What happened next? Did you see the gentleman join?” Mgdesyan questioned, asking if Kelly recalled telling an investigator that it looked like Peterson was trying to wrestle the gun away from Harris.
“I just saw he was very angry, shouting, and then the flashes then came from him. I never saw a gun,” Kelly said. “They were all fighting, so I just assumed he grabbed the gun.”
“I didn’t hear him say, ‘Excuse me, can I have the gun? It’s my turn,” Kelly said, eliciting laughter from several observers in the packed courtroom.
“Did you state that it looked like he was taking the gun away from her?” Mgdesyan pressed.
“I believe that they were fighting. Then he had the gun, and he started shooting,” Kelly said.
On cross examination, Kelly again described seeing the shorter male – meaning not Peterson’s taller driver, Jauquan Smith – firing a weapon.
“Were his arms outstretched?” Bott asked.
“Yes,” Kelly said.
“What was he pointing at?” Bott asked.
“He was firing everywhere,” Kelly responded.
Kelly said the “short guy” fired four or five shots while shouting a “torrent of abuse.”
“He was going crazy,” Kelly said, “really agitated.”
Kelly testified that it was after he heard the four or five gunshots that the female victim who had been “kicking all the time” fell to the street “bleeding.”
“She crawled and stumbled across the road into my neighbor’s driveway, which is a small bridge, and she curled up in ball,” Kelly testified.
At one point, he recalled seeing multiple figures that included the two men “beating” a female victim on the ground. “She was in a fetal position. She was all curled up on the floor and they were punching and kicking her. They were all beating her,” he testified.
Asked what happened next, Kelly said: “The larger gentleman stood up and said the police were coming. They picked the girl up, and to me it seemed they were going to throw her into the river. There’s a stream (nearby). It looked like they were about to throw her in there.”
He described the river as a concrete channel about 15 feet deep.
“It appeared to me when I was on the phone that they were trying to kill her,” Kelly said. “They dragged her across the street, then got in the car and sped off.”
Asked if he remembered telling the defense investigator that the first muzzle flash attributed to the girl happened inside the vehicle, he said, “Yes,” but he also thought the first flash was fireworks.
“Can I just say, while this was all going on, my son was with me. I told him to get on the floor. I was more concerned about him,” he testified.
Peterson, 30, has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges in the high-profile case: assault with a firearm causing great bodily injury; concealing a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and the recently added count of discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
If convicted as charged, the Alone at Prom rapper is facing up to 22 years and eight months in prison and subsequent deportation since he’s a citizen of Canada.
On Monday, prosecutors attempted to add two new witnesses tampering charges based on testimony from Megan and Harris about “statements the defendant made in the car, offering them a million dollars” to stay silent about the shooting. Judge David Herriford questioned why prosecutors waited so long to file the additional charges and denied the motion.