LATEST: Rapper Busta Rhymes has offered to pay for the funeral of his murdered bodyguard, according to the victim's sister.

Father-of-three ISRAEL RAMIREZ, 28, was shot once in the chest outside a Brooklyn, New York City, warehouse in the early hours of Sunday (05FEB06) morning. Stars including Rhymes, Missy Elliott and G-Unit rappers Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo had gathered there to shoot a music video.

Ramirez's sister CLAURICE LARA says Rhymes - real name TREVOR SMITH - phoned yesterday (06FEB06) afternoon to ask if he could pay for his minder's funeral.

However, earlier in the day she'd also criticised the hip-hop star for having an employee offer his condolences to her mother: "I think as soon as this incident happened - this tragedy of an incident - he should have picked up the phone and at least talked to my mother.

"I really think that being my brother worked for him for such a long time the first thing he should have done, instead of trying to protect himself, was call us."

Rhymes is one of a handful of potential witnesses who left the scene in Brooklyn, New York, before cops arrived, according to the city's police commissioner. Detectives will question him about the incident.

The bodyguard's wife Amelin Fernandez has claimed Rhymes told her he was standing between Ramirez and another member of security when the gunman appeared, aiming his weapon at someone behind them.