"So far, people we talked to said it looked like it was an intentional act. So we're handling it as a homicide," Los Angeles police Lt. John Corina said before the arrest.
Knight, 49, turned himself in to Los Angeles Sheriff's Department investigators early Friday. He's being held in lieu of about a $2 million bond pending a court appearance, which isn't expected until at least Monday, according to Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
CNN affiliate KCAL-TV and the Los Angeles Times quoted Knight's attorney, James Blatt, as saying Knight feared for his life and was trying to flee when the incident happened.
"We feel strongly Mr. Knight did not do anything wrong in this matter. He was attacked by a number of individuals, that has already been corroborated by certain witnesses. He left the scene because he was in fear for his safety and life," he said.
In a conversation with CNN before the arrest, Blatt declined to confirm to CNN whether Knight was driving. Blatt hasn't returned multiple calls from CNN seeking comment since the arrest.
The Thursday incident allegedly began with an argument on the set of the biopic "Straight Outta Compton,"
a film about the highly influential and controversial rap group N.W.A. It then spilled over to the parking lot of Tam's Burgers, where authorities say Knight tracked the men.
"It looks like he drove backward and struck the victims. And then went forward and struck them again as he left," Corina said.
Officers later found Knight's Ford Raptor abandoned in Westwood.
Knight turned himself in early Friday at the West Hollywood Sheriff's Station, accompanied by his attorney. After being questioned by detectives, Knight was booked and later transferred to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles, according to jail records.
The man who died has been identified as Terry Carter, 55. The second man's name is Cle Sloan, 51.
Knight influential and controversial
Knight founded the wildly successful Death Row Records in 1991.
He signed artists such as Snoop Doggy Dogg (since then known as Snoop Dogg and Snoop Lion) and Tupac Shakur, raising the profile of West Coast rap in the process.
Along with rapper, producer and future entrepreneur Andre "Dr. Dre" Young, he rode the wave of the fame from albums such as Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" in 1992. In 1993, Snoop Dogg's debut album, "Doggystyle," broke new ground in a genre of music previously dominated by East Coast artists.
Knight's signing of controversial rapper Tupac Shakur in the mid-'90s further increased the profiles of both Knight and his company in the hip-hop game.
But with his imposing physique and reputation for not being averse to violence, Knight also found himself at the center of a feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers.
The feud started as a war of words between rappers from each coast, but things quickly escalated in 1994 after Shakur accused producer Sean "Puffy" Combs and rapper Christopher "Biggie Smalls" Wallace of involvement in a 1994 shooting at a New York studio that left Shakur injured.
Both Combs -- who over the years has also been known as "Puff Daddy," "Diddy and "P. Diddy" -- and Wallace denied the accusations.
The tensions intensified in 1995 after Knight gave a speech at the Source Awards, where he said, "Any artist out there that want to be an artist and stay a star, and don't have to worry about the executive producer trying to be all in the videos, all on the record, dancing ... come to Death Row!"
Many took the statement as a direct dig at Combs, who often appeared in his artists' music videos.
Some have pointed to the feud as a contributing factor in the shooting deaths of both Shakur in 1996 and Wallace in 1997. Both slayings remain unsolved.
Knight was driving the car in which Shakur was a passenger when the rapper was shot to death in Las Vegas in 1996.
Series of run-ins
Shortly afterward, Knight spent several years in prison for violating parole on assault and weapons convictions. That prison time -- along with Shakur's death, feuds between Knight and a number of rappers and desertions by Dr. Dre, Snoop and others -- contributed to the label's bankruptcy in 2006.
In August, Knight and two others were shot while inside a celebrity-filled Sunset Strip party
hosted by singer Chris Brown on the eve of the MTV Video Music Awards.
In October, he was busted along with comedian Micah "Katt" Williams for allegedly stealing a photographer's camera