NEW YORK – A 30-year-old clubgoer was critically wounded when he was stabbed on the dance floor of a popular Midtown Manhattan hip-hop nightspot Monday — shortly after rapper Jay-Z (search) stopped by the club.
Edwin Lake, of Ozone Park, Queens, was knifed in an artery near his groin during a fight at Club Speed on West 39th Street at around 2:55 a.m., cops said
He was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital in critical condition.
While cops said the violence wasn't connected to any rapper — and that it broke out only because someone in the crowd bumped into another patron — a witness said the scuffle started while rap impresario and record exec Jay-Z was performing a two-song set.
A heckler had sprayed the rapper and others with water — and then may have annoyed some with chants of "G-Unit," according to the witness, who wished to remain anonymous. The chant is a reference to the crew and record label of rapper 50-Cent (search).
Minutes after Jay-Z had left the building, club officials told patrons to exit, the witness said.
Cops called to the scene sealed off the building to catch the attackers and arrested Ronald Johnson, 26, and Sean Gordon, 27.
Johnson — who allegedly stabbed Lake — and Gordon both tried to avoid capture by stashing their bloody clothing, police sources said.
The weapon was never recovered.
A Jay-Z spokeswoman said the rapper — whose real name is Shawn Carter and who is president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings (search) — stopped by the club to see artist Memphis Bleek perform and left well before the stabbing.
Jay-Z "had no knowledge that this happened," the spokeswoman said.
The two suspected attackers — who were both charged with first-degree assault — have faced problems with the law in the past, police said.
Johnson was charged with criminal contempt in 1996 and robbery in 1999.
Gordon has a list of charges going back to 1996, when he was first arrested for robbery and assault.