Man Charged With Weapons Violations In Murder Of Rapper Proof
Mario Etheridge, 28, of Detroit, has been charged with carrying a concealed weapon and discharging a firearm in a building.
According to Assistant prosecutor Maria Miller, Etheridge would have been released from custody if the prosecutors had not filed the charges.
Police could have legally detained Etheridge for only 48 hours without charging him with a crime, at which point they would have had to release him.
"Our investigation in this case is far from over," said Prosecutor Kym Worthy. "Our investigation into the death of Proof continues. There can't be any conclusions about anything until that investigation is completed," she said.
Etheridge has been held by police since he surrendered Wednesday afternoon, and his attorney said he has done nothing wrong and should not be charged.
Detectives are also looking into whether the fight started over a pool game, but they have not settled on a single theory.
Most of the witnesses agree on the cause of the fight and sources stated police are still trying to locate some of the 15 to 25 people who were in the club at the time of the shooting.
The charges come three days after the death of Proof, who was recently remembered by his best friend and fellow D12 member Eminem in a statement.
"You don't know where to begin when you lose somebody who's been such a big part of your life for so long," Eminem said, noting Proof's professional and personal influence.
"Proof and I were brothers. He pushed me to become who I am. Without Proof's guidance and encouragement, there would have been a Marshall Mathers, but probably not an Eminem and certainly never a Slim Shady. Not a day will go by without his spirit and influence around us all. He will be missed as a friend, father and both the heart and ambassador of Detroit hip-hop."
Proof, 32, was fatally shot early Tuesday morning during an altercation inside the C.C.C. nightclub.
According to reports, a fight broke out for unknown reasons following an argument between Proof and Keith Bender Jr., Etheridge's cousin.
What happened next will be the focus of the investigation.
Proof's lawyers have denied police and witness accounts that the rapper fired the first shot during the argument.
Bender was shot and critically wounded during the melee, which ended when Etheridge allegedly opened fire on the rapper, striking him four times in the head and chest.
"To indicate that Proof pulled the trigger is reckless and quite frankly it will be proved to be untrue," Proof's lawyer David Gorosh told The Detroit Free Press Thursday.
"It's disingenuous to speak to the media to try and suggest that Proof shot first," Gorosh said. "There are ways to determine what shots were fired and by whom. There's an ongoing investigation. Until all of the factual evidence has been evaluated, an opinion by the Detroit Police Department is premature."
"Right now, there's a lot of people focusing on the way he died. I want to remember the way he lived," said Eminem. "Proof was funny, he was smart, he was charming. He inspired everyone around him. He can never, ever be replaced. He was, and always will be, my best friend."