Before it was shattered by gunfire, the night started with warm memories of an influential man.
Family members, friends and fans gathered at the 7-Eleven on Pacific Coast Highway and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue on Friday night with one goal: to honor hip-hop artist and pioneer C-Knight.
C-Knight, who was diabetic, passed away on Nov. 7, weeks after suffering a stroke and going into cardiac arrest, according to friends and media reports. The rapper never recovered. He died one day after being removed from life support at the age of 52.
C-Knight was a member of the Long Beach hip-hop group The Dove Shack. The group — featuring C-Knight, 2Scoop and Bo Roc — made their debut on the song “This is the Shack” featured on Warren G’s 1994 album “Regulate… G Funk Era.”
Bo Roc organized Friday’s vigil saying, “It’s important to recognize your loved ones. Recognize your real friends and, in this particular situation, we’re recognizing my bro who’s a legend.”
He went on to say that without C-Knight, Dove Shack wouldn’t exist. “He created the logo. The Dove Shack was located at his grandmama’s house. He was instrumental in everything.”
2Scoop, also in attendance, said the parking lot of the original VIP Records store at MLK and PCH was the perfect location for the vigil.
“When we dropped our album in ’95 this was the first place we came to to sign autographs,” he said. “This was the cornerstone of Long Beach hip-hop”
He went on to discuss the impact C-Knight had on his life by instilling confidence and even the importance of knowing how to stay safe: “He was about four years older than me so he taught me a lot. He taught me self-defense and how to stand up for yourself. … He taught me a lot.”
For those who did not know C-Knight personally, Bo Roc said it was important to understand the kindness of his lifelong friend.
“Regardless of the gangster image, regardless of the hardcore persona and all that, he was cool. He was kind. He had a genuine heart.”
“He was a spiritual guy and he loved life,” Bo Roc said.
The celebration of life continued with attendees sharing love, tears, laughter and memories.
Some created hoodies and T-shirts to pay tribute, while others had custom candles to honor the rapper. Once the candles were lit, those in attendance held the candles high, shouting “C-Knight we love you.”
Attendees placed their candles on the ground, played The Dove Shack’s famous hit song “Summertime in the LBC,” and stood somberly yet peacefully remembering the life of the legendary rapper.
Then, what should have been the conclusion of a beautiful tribute quickly turned violent.
Two gunshots were fired from the intersection of PCH and MLK, causing confusion in the crowd. By the third round, those in attendance realized shots were being fired and dove to the ground or hid behind cars.
Within seconds, more shots were fired into the parking lot, prompting return fire from at least two people at the vigil who pursued the shooters as they fled the scene. The sound of gunshots soon turned to an eerie silence as the distant sound of more shots began to fade down MLK.
The silence was broken as people scattered and began to flee the scene.
Amid the chaos, some attendees rendered aid to one woman who had been shot in the upper right shoulder area.
“I’m not going to make it,” she shouted while being comforted and reassured that help was on the way.
According to Long Beach police, two women in the crowd were wounded. They are both expected to survive.
Two shooters fled the scene, police said, and Long Beach gang detectives are now investigating the case.