'I thought I was the shooting target' says Puff Daddy

Thursday, March 01, 2001
Puff Daddy Sean Combs has taken the witness stand at his New York gun possession trial.

The rapper said he thought he was the intended victim when shooting broke out at a Times Square nightclub.

Prosecutors allege Combs was illegally carrying a gun in the club.

He is also charged with trying to bribe his chauffeur into accepting responsibility for a handgun allegedly thrown from the Navigator as it drove off.

"Do you know who was being shot at?" asked his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman.

"No. I thought I was being shot at," Combs said. "My hands were up. I started to go down. Everybody started falling all over each other."

Among the people falling on top of him, he added, was his bodyguard, Anthony Wolf Jones, who is also charged with gun possession in the trial in Manhattan State Supreme Court.

Combs said the gunfire rang out shortly after Jones accompanied him and his then-girlfriend, singer-actress Jennifer Lopez, from the VIP section of Club New York to the exit early on December 27 1999.

"I had felt the shots were for me," Combs added. "As fast as I could get down there, I was just trying to get away from danger."

The shots rang out just after Combs and his entourage walked past a large circular bar in the centre of the club. At that point, they encountered a man - later identified as Matthew Scar Allen - who Combs said was "mouthing off" at him.

"I could tell that what he was saying wasn't nice," Combs said. "I could tell by his body language and facial expressions."

Combs said he didn't know the man. A security guard, Sharise Myers, testified on Monday that she tapped Combs on the shoulder and told him, "You don't need this," to encourage him to ignore Allen and leave.

Combs testified that seconds after Myers tapped him on the shoulder, four shots rang out and he heard someone scream, "Get Puffy out of here!"