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Rapper Benzino shot in self-defense, nephew’s lawyer says

PLYMOUTH — Two days before a funeral procession for a Dorchester woman erupted in gunfire on Route 3 in Duxbury, the accused shooter bought a firearm and then refused to let his wife and child ride in a car with him to his grandmother’s funeral, because he was afraid of his uncle, he told police.

Gai Scott, 36, volunteered to police that he opened fire Saturday on a red 2013 Dodge Journey driven by his uncle, Raymond E. Scott, 48, a rapper and reality television show cast member known by the stage name Benzino.

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“I shot at him; I was in fear for my wife and a baby,” Gai Scott said, according to a police report filed in court. “He’s been threatening my life.”

Gai Scott’s lawyer entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf Monday to a charge of armed assault with intent to murder. Gai Scott is being held pending a dangerousness hearing set for Wednesday in Plymouth District Court. His lawyer, Jon Ciraulo, said he acted in self-defense.

Gai Scott appeared in Plymouth District Court today to face a charge of armed assault with intent to murder.

AP/The Patriot Ledger, Greg Derr/Pool

Gai Scott appeared in Plymouth District Court today to face a charge of armed assault with intent to murder.

Gai Scott told police that his uncle had been sending him text messages threatening to kill him in the week before the shooting and that he purchased a firearm to protect himself, State Trooper Robert M. Klimas wrote in a report filed in court. Scott also described himself as “security” for the funeral, the report said.

“Gai also stated that Raymond had been threatening to kill him for years,” Klimas wrote. “I asked Gai why Raymond wanted to harm him, and Gai stated that it stemmed from animosity and jealousy.”

Gai Scott said he was driving a black 2006 Bentley behind a hearse in the procession in Duxbury when his uncle pulled up beside him in the left lane, rolled down his window, and said, “You got a problem with me” and then threatened to kill him, Klimas wrote.

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“Gai stated that Raymond reached down low and when Raymond raised his hand he ‘flashed’ a gun at Gai,” the report said. He then pulled out a 9mm Walther pistol from a holster on his right hip and fired it at his uncle, the report said.

When that weapon ran out of ammunition, Gai Scott said, he started firing a .45-caliber gun until it was spent. He then loaded a spare magazine into the 9mm firearm, the report said. Scott is a legal gun owner, the report said.

Martin K. Leppo, a criminal and civil attorney who has represented Raymond Scott for years, dismissed the nephew’s claim of self-defense.

“Six shots into Ray Scott’s car, and he chased him on the highway; that doesn’t sound like self-defense to me,’’ Leppo said. He added that Raymond Scott did not have a firearm.

Raymond Scott sustained a gunshot wound to his right shoulder and an abrasion to his back, the report said. He was discharged from South Shore Hospital Monday.

In a telephone interview, he said that after he was shot, he ran to the hearse, which was carrying his mother’s body, for help.

“At that point, I thought I was going to die,” Raymond Scott said. The hearse, he said, kept going, and he eventually was picked up by another family member driving in the procession.

Leppo said Raymond Scott had decided against attending the funeral for his mother, Mary A. “Kinky” (Timas) Scott, but coincidentally came upon the funeral procession while en route to pick up a friend in Plymouth, where the service was taking place.

The friend was identified in a police report as Stevie J, who costars with Raymond Scott on the VH1 reality show ‘‘Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.”

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Leppo added that tension between branches of the Scott family stemmed from Raymond Scott’s belief that his mother’s property and finances were being misused by his nephew’s family.

Leppo said that Raymond Scott had mourned his mother privately at a funeral home while no other family members were present.

Raymond Scott refused to say what he thinks motivated the shooting and started cursing when asked by a reporter about how he happened to encounter his mother’s funeral procession.

An affidavit filed in Dorchester District Court by a family member seeking a restraining order against him contradicts his statements about his visit to the funeral home. A relative wrote that Raymond Scott appeared Saturday with several men at Keohane Funeral Home and harassed Gai Scott’s mother, Maureen, and that he had threatened her in the past. Maureen and Raymond Scott are siblings. Leppo dismissed those assertions.

Scott grew up in Dorchester and was part of a rap group that infuriated Boston police officers in the early 1990s for an antipolice rap.

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He was a founder of the rap magazine, The Source, and is chief executive of Hip-Hop Weekly.

Christopher Coughlin, another attorney for Gai Scott, said his client is a licensed gun owner and that he does not believe he will be ordered held after the hearing Wednesday. “We don’t think that our client is a threat to anyone.’’

More coverage:

Nephew who allegedly shot Benzino held without bail

Rapper Benzino cites bitter family feud in shooting

Man allegedly shot by newphew in funeral procession

Maria Cramer and John R. Ellement contributed to this report. Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@
globe.com
. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.

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