Eminem at Proof's Funeral: "Without Proof, there would be no Eminem"
As previously reported, Proof (born Deshaun Holton) and Keith Bender, got into a heated exchange at Detroit's C.C.C. nightclub on Tuesday morning (April 11) which lead to Proof pistol-whipping and shooting Bender. Proof was then gunned down by Bender's cousin as he stood over Bender.
Proof was pronounced dead on arrival at St. John Conner Creek Village while Bender died yesterday morning (April 18) after being in critical condition for a week at St. John Hospital and Medical Center.
Police presence was visibly noticeable as fans and mourners filed into in the church. Many of them wore T-shirts decorated with Proof's image and name. Visibly overcome with grief, Proof's D-12 groupmates, Trice and Em all gave eulogies.
"He taught me how to be a leader," said an emotional Eminem. "I'm sure everybody who has ever met him, even just once, can testify to the fact that he illuminated a room when he walked in it. I believe that Proof loved people and people loved him. He was a magnet. He lured you in. You wanted to learn about him, follow his swagger. Without Proof, there would be no Eminem, no Slim Shady, and no D12."
"We're killing each other, dawg. And it's about nothing. Nothing" lamented Obie Trice with tears flowing from his eyes. "We're all dying. And we're leaving our kids. Our mommas. Our grandmas. Over nothing."
Proof's burial will take place at Woodlawn Cemetery. Members of D-12, Eminem, Proof's manager Mark Hicks, Detroit based rapper Trick Trick and others have been listed as pallbearers. Proof was 32-years-old and he is survived by a wife and five children.
Although various media outlets painted Proof as "a thug" after the shooting, close friends described him as a genuine and kind person.
"Whenever he wasn't working, he was being helpful and open-handed to fans, friends, family, and even strangers" DJ Exclusive, Proof's friend and collaborator, told SOHH exclusively . "He was very generous and he was always contributing to emcee battles.
Exclusive had been working on a mixtape with Proof before his untimely death. "Proof had a crazy work ethic. When he worked, he was a beast. He didn't stop, when he recorded he recorded like crazy" Exclusive told SOHH. "When I heard he had passed, I was in shock and didn't believe it... It was so unexpected and I didn't know how to feel."
DJ Exclusive plans to release the material he recorded with Proof in the future and proceeds from the project will go to Proof's family.
Mario Etheridge, Bender's cousin, is currently in custody after turning himself in a day after the shootout. Etheridge, who was also a bouncer at the C.C.C., was then charged with the two weapon related felonies and not Proof's death.
He was arraigned this past Saturday and pleaded not guilty to two counts of possession of a concealed weapon and discharge of a firearm in a building. A District Court Magistrate set bail for Etheridge at $70,000 which he has been unable to post.
If convicted on both weapons violations charges, Etheridge he could face up to nine years in prison. Prosecutors may also bring up additional charges. A preliminary hearing is slated to take place April 26.