NYPD Commissioner on T.I. Show Shooting: Rappers Are 'Basically Thugs'

"You’d like to think that with all the wealth that comes from the fame, that they’ll be able to turn their lives around," William Bratton says

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said that rappers are "basically thugs" after a fatal shooting at a T.I. concert in New York. Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty

One day after a shooting at New York's Irving Plaza that left one dead and three others injured at a concert by rapper T.I., NYPD Commissioner William Bratton went on the offensive, calling rappers "basically thugs" and opining, "You'd like to think that with all the wealth that comes from the fame, that they'll be able to turn their lives around."

Bratton made the comments on WCBS 880 radio Thursday morning (via Buzzfeed). "The crazy world of these so-called rap artists who are basically thugs that basically celebrate the violence that they've done all their lives," Bratton said. "And unfortunately that violence often times manifests itself during their performances, and that's exactly what happened last evening."

"A preliminary investigation revealed that the shooting took place at the third floor green room area," Chief of Manhattan South Detectives William Aubry told reporters Wednesday night. It's unclear what led to the shooting. T.I. was also in the venue but had not appeared onstage when the shooting took place around 10:15 p.m.

Ronald McPhatter, 33, was shot in the chest and rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Christopher Vinson, 34, was shot in the chest and is in critical condition, while two others shot Wednesday night had less serious injuries. Maggie Heckstall, 26, was shot in the leg and taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition, while a fourth victim, Roland Collins (aka New York rapper Troy Ave), walked into NYU Langone Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Asked to compare the current climate to his stint as commissioner in the Nineties, Bratton said "this world has not reformed," adding, "It's unfortunate. You'd like to think that with all the wealth that comes from the fame, that they'll be able to turn their lives around but they continue hanging out with the same people they hung out with when they came out of that world of desperation, poverty, and crime.

"There's no denying that to a lot of people … they enjoy the music, [but] the music unfortunately often times celebrates violence, celebrates degradation of women, celebrates the drug culture and it's unfortunate that as they get fame and fortune, some of them are not able to 'get out of the life,'" he added.

Asked about the status of the case, Bratton said, "We feel to wrap it up very quickly. We have a pretty good idea of what happened."

One person was killed and three others shot at a T.I. concert in New York Wednesday night. Watch here.