Young Dolph murder: Suspect arrested in Indiana, another charged

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – A Tennessee man wanted in the fatal shooting of rapper Young Dolph in his hometown of Memphis was captured Tuesday in Indiana while another man was charged with murder, authorities said.

A grand jury charged Cornelius Smith, 32, with first-degree murder and other charges in the shooting that killed Young Dolph, Shelby County, Tennessee said, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Smith, who was arrested last month because of an auto theft conviction involving the vehicle used in Young Dolph’s killing, was detained without restraint.

Separately, the U.S. Marshals Service said Justin Johnson, 23, was arrested after a murder warrant was issued for him earlier this month. The agency did not say where in Indiana, Johnson was found.

The young Dolph, whose real name was Adolph Thornton Jr., was shot down in an ambush in daylight at a popular cake shop on November 17th.

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Young Dolph was shot down in an ambush in broad daylight on November 17th.

Young Dolph was shot down in an ambush in broad daylight on November 17th.
(Getty Images)

U.S. Marshal Tyreece Miller, Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis and Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said they would hold a joint news conference Wednesday to provide more details.

The shooting stunned Memphis and shocked the entertainment world. City officials and community activists pointed to the killing as a symbol of the dangers of gun violence in Memphis, with more than 300 killings reported last year.

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Known for his portrayals of hard street life and his independent approach to the music industry, Young Dolph was admired for charitable works in Memphis. He organized Thanksgiving food giveaways, donated thousands of dollars to colleges and paid rent, and covered funeral expenses for people in the Castalia Heights neighborhood where he grew up. When he was killed, the 36-year-old rapper was in Memphis to hand out Thanksgiving turkeys and visit a cancer center.

Justin Johnson was arrested in Indiana on Tuesday after an arrest warrant was issued earlier this month.

Justin Johnson was arrested in Indiana on Tuesday after an arrest warrant was issued earlier this month.
(US Marshals Service via AP)

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A private funeral was held on November 30, and part of a street in the neighborhood where he grew up was renamed him on December 15. He was also honored at a public party at FedExForum, home of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and University of Memphis men’s basketball team.

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Young Dolph was born in Chicago and moved to Memphis with his parents when he was 2. He released several mixtapes, starting with 2008’s “Paper Route Campaign” and several studio albums, including his 2016 debut “King of Memphis.” He also collaborated on other mixtapes and albums with other rappers Key Glock, Megan Thee Stallion, TI, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz and others.

Young Dolph was killed in a shooting at a cake shop on November 17.

Young Dolph was killed in a shooting at a cake shop on November 17.
(Getty Images)

He had three albums reached the top 10 on the Billboard 200, where 2020’s “Rich Slave” topped as No. 4.

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Young Dolph had survived previous shootings. He was shot several times in September 2017 after a fight outside a hotel in Los Angeles. In February of that year, his SUV was shot down in Charlotte, North Carolina, more than 100 times. That was the inspiration for the song “100 Shots.” He said he survived because he had bulletproof panels in his vehicle.

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