In day five of the Sean “Puffy” Combs trial, shooting victim Natania Reuben, one of the three people wounded at Club New York on December 27, 1999, testified that not only did she see Combs and rapper Jamal “Shyne” Barrow with guns, but she also saw them open fire, making her the first witness to testify to seeing Combs use a weapon.
The thirty-year-old mother of two, who was hit in the face with a bullet that ripped open her cheek, said today that though she didn’t know who fired the bullet which struck her, she did see the fight prior to the shots being fired, which she described as a shoving match. She saw Combs and Barrow pull out guns, and then saw two muzzle flashes, one from each. “It felt like a hot sledgehammer,” Reuben said. “I felt the impact. Blood began pouring out, and I said, ‘God, please don’t take me.'”
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos asked Reuben to clarify which hand Combs held the gun in, to which she replied Combs’ right hand, corroborating earlier testimony from witness Tarnisha Smith. But where the defense had attacked Smith’s sight lines due to her height, in this case, they went after Reuben on credibility issues, as she had filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit after the shooting against Combs. Combs’ lawyers tried to play a clip of Reuben’s appearance on the television program People’s Court (in a separate case involving her landlord) to cast doubt on her statements, but Judge Charles Solomon ruled that the tape was irrelevant.
A third shooting victim and driver Wardel Fenderson are expected to testify later this week. According to Bogdanos’ opening argument, Fenderson is expected to say that he saw Combs with a gun in the backseat of his Lincoln Navigator before he entered the club. The trial resumes Wednesday.