Associate of Knight Held in Shootout

Times Staff Writer

An associate of Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight has been charged with attempted murder for his alleged role in a brazen shootout with Long Beach police after a botched robbery.

Theodore Kelly, 29, who was arrested last year for allegedly plotting with two other Knight associates to kill a gang rival, was one of four men taken into custody after trading gunfire with police late Saturday in front of Albert's Pawn Shop at 1023 Long Beach Blvd., said Officer Greg Schirmer. No one was hurt in the shootout, police said.

Kelly and three other armed men walked into the pawnshop about 5 p.m. and robbed the business, Schirmer said.

He said that before they could leave, they were met by officers who had been summoned by a silent alarm. As they tried to get away, the suspects shot at police, Schirmer said. Police sealed off the area and quickly arrested two of the suspects. The two others were later arrested nearby.

Kelly, Richard Ellis, 22; Thomas Milam, 29; and Ralph Cole, 21; have been charged with robbery and attempted murder.

Kelly was one of three Knight associates arrested in November for allegedly conspiring to kill a gang rival. Former Sheriff's Deputy Kordell Depree Knox, 37, and reputed gang members Kelly and Michael Payne, 25, were accused of plotting to kill a rival in revenge for the shooting death in April of another Knight associate.

However, the three were freed days later pending further investigation, officials said.

During the investigation, authorities raided 16 locations, including the Wilshire Boulevard offices of Tha Row, formerly Death Row Records, and Knight's homes.

Authorities said Knight is not a suspect in their investigation.

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