On June 19, 2014, a shooting at a Red Rocks show featuring Nas, Flying Lotus and Schoolboy Q shocked the music community here and beyond — especially after law enforcement announced that Schoolboy Q's sports-utility vehicle had been specifically targeted by the gunman.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, speculation about motive quickly centered on a Schoolboy Q appearance at the Ogden Theatre that March, during which the rapper reacted angrily at a concert-goer after being pegged in the chest by an object thrown from the audience.
More than two years later, the case remains unsolved.
Now, former Schoolboy Q assistant Michael McGee, the most seriously injured of those in the SUV — the bullet that struck him that night is still in his head — has filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Denver and promoter Faithon Lucas over the incident.
"Essentially, our argument is that there was inadequate security at the venue, which resulted in the injury to Michael," says Elliott Tiomkin, McGee's California-based attorney. "There was a shooter with a firearm who was allowed to enter the venue and shoot numerous rounds into the vehicle that my client was in.
"Our position is that had there been adequate screening, adequate security measures, armed security guards and armed law enforcement present, this wouldn't have happened — and the fact of the matter is, the shooter was even able to escape. He was never found."
McGee provides a mini-biography in a page devoted to him on the website ClaimFame.com. The item reads:
I am a International Bodyguard/Protector I’m from Carson a City Located in Los Angeles. I have been a Bodyguard/Protector since 2008 I Started working with an Artist by the Name of Colby O’ Donis. Since Starting with Colby I’ve been a Bodyguard/Protector for Pastors & such Artist as Jay Rock, Ab Soul, Isaiah Rashad, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Macklemore (I was Featured in a Macklemore Video “White Walls ft SchoolBoy Q”) & (I also had a Camo in BJ The Chicago Kid Video “It’s True” ft SchoolBoy Q) A$AP Mob etc. In 2014 I was also Shot in the Neck being a Bodyguard/Protector.
As we've reported, the first official word about the shooting came via a Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tweet sent out shortly before midnight on the 19th:
The sheriff's office quickly specified that the shooting took place in a parking lot after the concert, not in the amphitheater itself. However, a tweet added that the park was closed until further notice and "no one is in custody."
The cars of all concert-goers were examined in the aftermath of the shooting — an enormous task at a venue with a capacity in the range of 9,000. Many thousands of attendees were delayed for a considerable stretch of time as officers with local SWAT teams and more took part in the search.
Not every vehicle was trapped, though. The JCSO subsequently tweeted that a "White SUV at 6th & Kalamath contained three victims from the shooting at Red Rocks in #Jeffco. All have been transported."
Meanwhile, authorities were reportedly on the lookout for "a black man, 5'10 to 6 foot tall, wearing black clothing and carrying a rifle."
When no such person was found in the hours after the shooting, investigators turned their attention to a video of Schoolboy Q's March 27 concert at the Ogden.
As seen in the clip, on view at the bottom of this post, Schoolboy Q was performing when he was struck by an object thrown from the audience. He reacted by jumping into the crowd, microphone in hand, to confront the person he thought was responsible.
During the video, Schoolboy Q can be heard asking, "Did he throw it? Did he throw it? Don't lie to me, bruh. Did he throw it? Don't be a little bitch and start comin' and cryin', you faggot."
A moment later, Schoolboy Q is seen in the video working his way back onto the stage, where he announces, "Whoever threw that is a bitch-ass nigga, and I hope your mother dies tonight.... You're a coward. I swear to God, I hope your mother dies tonight, you coward faggot bitch."
In the meantime, McGee was recovering from the gunshot, which attorney Tiomkin details from his client's perspective.
Schoolboy Q and his retinue, including McGee, "had just walked out of the venue through the exit that was designated for the performers, VIPs," Tiomkin notes. "They had just gotten inside and were starting to drive off when the shooting happened. It's my understanding that there were eight bullets fired into the vehicle, and after it happened, the vehicle took off and raced to the hospital. But a police officer stopped them on the way.
"The concert had just concluded, and there were quite a few concert-goers around," he goes on. "But Michael's memory is that there were no police present that he saw, no security guards, no one checking any vehicles, no one doing any screening. All he saw were ushers, basically, using flashlights to let vehicles in."
Bullet holes in the front windshield are clearly visible in this photo of the SUV in which McGee was riding.
As noted in the Jeffco tweet, three people in the SUV were hurt, including Brandon West, who was shot in the hand — and the injury McGee suffered was devastating.
"The bullet is still in his head, still lodged in his skull," Tiomkin reveals. "At this point, doctors are indicating against its removal because it could potentially cause greater damage. But he's constantly in pain. He's got the pressure of a bullet on his brain, he's had post-traumatic stress from what happened, and he's had memory issues.
"Michael has a wife and a small child, and his medical issues are causing him to be unemployed. He's been unable to work off and on since the incident, and he has to receive regular medical attention. So we're seeking damages for wage loss, but also for future medical bills, past medical bills, pain and suffering."
In addition, Tiomkin stresses that "we're calling for security procedures at Red Rocks to be changed. It's a large venue, it attracts many individuals, members of the public who are at risk. Realizing that it's an open-air venue, there still has to be adequate security to protect the public. So we're not specifically seeking injunctive relief, but we're hoping this will lead to change."
The lawsuit is on file with the United States District Court in Colorado; Tiomkin says the next court date is scheduled for August. Look below to see the video of Schoolboy Q's concert at the Ogden, followed by the complaint.
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Note: The original version of this post quoted attorney Elliott Tiomkin as saying only McGee was hit by a bullet in the shooting, although two others were injured. Afterward, West informed us about the gunshot wound to his hand and says Schoolboy Q's manager was also hit. We've corrected the text above and regret the error.