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Bands fight: One dead, one injured, five jailed

By
SHEILA MULLAN

PITTSBURGH -- A production manager of the pop group New Edition, in apparent retaliation for being beaten by a rival road crew, stalked the group Guy's security chief and shot him to death, police said Monday.

The shooting occurred after a simmering dispute between New Edition and the music group Guy flared up Sunday with a scuffle among road crew members, detectives said. The fight ended in the death of Anthony Bee, 32, of New York, security manager for the group Guy, Police Cmdr. Ronald Freeman said.

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New Edition production manager Ronald Byrd, 30, of Buffalo, N.Y., was charged with criminal homicide and will face a July 19 coroner's inquest, detectives said.

Witnesses told police Byrd chased Bee from the Civic Arena to the nearby Pittsburgh Hyatt Hotel about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, shooting him once in the back outside the hotel and once again at the hotel. Bee died at Mercy Hospital.

'It was a group of guys beating up another group of guys with ball bats,' said a police detective who asked not to be identified. 'The accused was one of those being beaten. He managed to get a gun and chased the victim down the street and fired a few times.'

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No fans were involved, authorities said.

Both bands were to perform Sunday with several other groups as part of the Budweiser Summerfest concert series. The show was postponed.

The dispute between the two bands first began in Greensboro, N.C., when the group Guy played past its time limit, police said. One member of Guy allegedly kicked or pushed some of New Edition's equipment as the group came on stage.

'I think there might have been a little skirmish,' the detective said. 'Somebody filed charges against somebody else. I don't think it was the same parties, but it was between the same two groups.'

After the Greensboro concert, Guy members allegedly threatened New Edition, saying they were going to 'get them, to do some things to them,' Freeman said.

Witnesses told police that members of New Edition flew several men from New York to Pittsburgh Sunday to provide the band with 'muscle, to do whatever they had to do,' he said.

Sunday's incident began when two Guy 'roadies' attacked a crew member of New Edition near the Civic Arena stage. Shortly after the scuffle, Bee was chased and shot, investigators said.

Four members of Guy were jailed on assault charges for in the beating of New Edition crew member Michael Clark of New York, investigators said. They were identified as Michael Floyd, 20; Jean Griffith, 39; Ronald Thomas, 26; and Vincent Rosario, 24, all of New York.

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Clark was in serious condition Monday at Allegheny General Hospital.

Sunday's 7:30 p.m. concert had advance ticket sales of at least 12,000, officials said.

'My understanding is they canceled that (one) particular tour (concert),' the detective said. 'They're not going to cancel others. All those band people, they went home.'

The concert was not immediately rescheduled.

New Edition is a five-man vocal group formed nearly 10 years ago in Boston's Orchard Park housing project. They have had a number of songs at the top of the black pop charts, ranging from 'Candy Girl' in the early '80s to last year's 'If It Isn't Love.'

Guy is a three-man group formed in 1987 by writer-arranger-producer Teddy Riley and is credited with starting a new black music trend known as the 'new jack swing.' Their self-titled debut album achieved more than 1 million sales, and features a string of Top Ten black singles, including 'I Like' and 'Teddy's Jam.'

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