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Cops Seek Busta Rhymes as Slay Witness

Detectives want to question Busta Rhymes about the fatal shooting of the rapper's bodyguard outside a Brooklyn warehouse where a star-studded video was being taped, officials said Monday.

Rhymes was among several potential witnesses who left the scene of the slaying early Sunday before police arrived, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters at police headquarters.

"We believe Busta Rhymes may have been on the street when the shooting took place," Kelly said.

A spokesman for Rhymes, Greg Miller, declined comment.

Police planned to seek a court order to obtain video shot inside the warehouse, believing it might provide clues about what sparked the shooting.

"Obviously, we're very much interested in the filming that went on," Kelly said. "So all of that film with be examined with a subpoena."

Rhymes, Missy Elliot and G-Unit members, including Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, were set to start filming on a ninth-floor soundstage when the violence erupted around 1:30 a.m. outside the industrial building, police said. About 500 had gathered for the video project that was to accompany a remix of Rhymes' latest hit single, "Touch It."

Police believe an argument that began inside the warehouse "moved to the street," Kelly said. "There was some pushing and shoving going on when an individual took out a gun and fired at least eight shots."

Israel Ramirez, 29, of Manhattan, was killed with a single shot to the chest. Rhymes, a Brooklyn native whose legal name is Trevor Smith, was not injured.

Sometime before the shooting, Yayo reportedly had an outburst in the studio that was later quelled by Rhymes.

Yayo, whose real name is Marvin Bernard, denies any involvement in the shooting, said his lawyer, Scott Leemon. In a letter to prosecutors, Leemon said his client would refuse to voluntarily answer any questions from law enforcement.

"Please make sure he is not contacted and/or harassed by NYPD," the letter said.