November 01, 2002 10:00 AM

Outside the Queens, N.Y., recording studio where an unidentified gunman — or gunmen — fatally shot rap legend Jam Master Jay Wednesday night, bereaved fans left remembrances and messages as a memorial to the fallen local hero, who was a founding member of the platinum-selling group Run-DMC.

“He was in Queens, of Queens and for Queens,” neighborhood barber Reggie Edwards told The New York Times. “The man was paying people’s rent.”

Police, meanwhile, are investigating whether an East Coast-West Coast feud between hip-hop factions sparked the murder of the friendly and peaceable rap star, 37, whose real name was Jason Mizell. But the Associated Press reports that fans and family members are skeptical of that speculation.

“There’s no reason,” the victim’s teenage son, Jason Mizell Jr., told the news service Thursday. “He didn’t really do anything wrong.”

Police said that two witnesses have presented them with conflicting stories of the killing. Some say two gunmen committed the murder, while an injured party insisted that it was a solo gunman.

One woman said that two armed attackers were buzzed into the three-room recording studio at about 7:30 p.m. and quickly opened fire. Police recovered two shell casings after the shooting, which took place as Mizell played video games in a lounge with Uriel Rincon, 25, who was hit in the leg, says AP. Rincon, who was released from a hospital Thursday, told police that one masked man opened fire after a struggle.

Three other people said they were in the studio room at the time of the killing but did not see it taking place, authorities said.

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