Police probe report of gunshot in NY rapper brawl

Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:48pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York police said on Friday they are investigating a gunshot heard inside a New York nightclub during a melee of flying bottles involving friends of singer Chris Brown and rapper Drake.

The brawl, which caused only minor injuries to the people involved, occurred early on Thursday morning as Brown was exiting the club, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said. One day earlier, a representative for Drake similarly said he was leaving as the fighting broke out.

No arrests have yet been made.

"While none so far reported seeing a gun, several witnesses have told NYPD detectives that they heard what they believed was a gunshot inside the club during the disturbance," said Browne. "Detectives are investigating these reports further."

New York city council speaker Christine Quinn also said on Friday that as a result of the brawl, she was convening an emergency meeting between her office, police and the nightlife industry "to send a clear message to all nightclub patrons that bottles cannot be used as weapons."

Eight men and women who were at Manhattan club WIP had cuts, bruises and other injuries as a result of the brawl, police said Thursday.

The altercation began, witnesses told police, early in the night when both singers were at the bar separately and several unidentified men approached Brown to ask if he had a problem with Drake.

Later as Brown exited the club, witnesses said five men with Drake began stripping off their shirts and confronted him. Bottles were then thrown from other parts of the bar. Police were unsure whether they were tossed by other bar patrons or by members of each singer's circle of friends.

Representatives for both singers have denied any wrongdoing on the parts of Brown and Drake and said both are cooperating with police.

Drake briefly dated pop star Rihanna after Brown, now 23, had dated her for a longer period. Brown was previously arrested and pleaded guilty to beating Rihanna in February 2009. He was sentenced to five years probation.

(Reporting By Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte and David Gregorio)

Chris Brown accepts the award for best R&B album for "F.A.M.E." at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, February 12, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni