DeShaun Dupree Holton (October 2, 1973 – April 11, 2006), better known by his stage name Proof, was an American rapper and actor from Detroit, Michigan. During his career, he was a member of the groups 5 Elementz, Funky Cowboys, Promatic, Goon Sqwad and most notably, D12. He was a close childhood friend of rapper Eminem, who lived on the same block, and was often a hype man at his concerts. In 2006, Proof was shot and killed during an altercation at the CCC nightclub in Detroit.
On April 11, 2006, Proof was shot three times by Mario Etheridge, twice in the back and once in the skull, after an altercation broke out during a game of billiards at the CCC Club on 8 Mile Road in Detroit, Michigan. A pool game between Proof and Keith Bender turned into a heated argument and then escalated into a physical altercation. Etheridge, who was Bender's cousin, fired a warning shot into the air. There have been many conflicting reports about Proof and Keith Bender's roles in the shooting, but it was reported that Proof then shot Bender in the head during the altercation. Bender was not immediately killed by the gunshot but died a week later from his injuries. In response to Proof allegedly shooting Bender, Etheridge then shot Proof three times, once in the head and twice in the chest, killing him at the scene. At the time of his death, Proof's blood alcohol content was 0.32, four times the legal DUI limit. An autopsy revealed that he did not have any illegal drugs in his system. Proof's lawyer, David Gorosh, accused the police and the media of being "reckless" for suggesting that his client fired the first shots without having any hard evidence. A few weeks after both men's death, Bender's family began a wrongful death suit against Proof's estate. Authorities determined that Etheridge was acting lawfully in defense of another; however, he was found guilty of carrying an illegal firearm and discharging it inside of a building.
On April 19, 2006, a service for Proof was held in the Fellowship Chapel in Detroit to a full house of 2,660, including long time friend Eminem, Royce Da 5'9, 50 Cent, and thousands more mourning outside. He was then buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.
Seven months after Proof's death, his close friend Reginald "Mudd" Moore, who was with him at the nightclub where he was killed, gave an exclusive interview with XXL magazine where he told a different account of what happened that night. In Mudd's version of the events, Proof is portrayed neither as the instigator nor a cold-blooded killer. According to Mudd, the night started out with him and Proof and two of their friends barhopping. They arrived at the Triple C club at around 3:30am where a fight between Keith Bender and Proof escalated over a pool game. The bouncer Mario Etheridge then pulled out his gun and fired two shots into the air to break the fight up, but instead the shots caused panic. Mudd went on to state that an intoxicated Proof pushed him out of the way, reached for his gun and fired once into the air. Keith Bender then came from behind and started attacking Proof trying to get the weapon out of his hand. Etheridge then came over and started shooting in the direction of Proof and Bender, killing both men.