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Crime & Courts

Atlanta rapper Lil Phat gunned down in hospital parking lot

Atlanta rapper Lil Phat was gunned down in the parking lot of a Georgia hospital, police said Friday, as they hunted two men seen running from the scene.

The rapper -- real name Melvin Vernell III -- was killed about 6:40pm Thursday outside Northside Hospital in Sandy Springs north of Atlanta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Vernell, 19, was found dead in a vehicle after gunfire was heard by hospital staff. A motive was not yet known.

A policeman said one of the two black men seen running away from the parking lot was short, wearing a red shirt, while the second was a tall man dressed in all black.

State Sen. Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton) was visiting a patient at the hospital at the time and was among a group of visitors corralled for two hours in an empty room.

"As we arrived, there was a disturbance in the parking lot," he told the Journal-Constitution. "Another family said that as they were beginning to leave, they heard shots and were hurried back into the hospital."

Lil Phat was best known for his appearance on the 2008 hit "Independent" by Webbie and Lil Boosie, reported.

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