Two suspects in custody, one indicted

January 12, 2022
Two suspects in custody, one indicted
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Two men wanted by law enforcement for their suspected involvement in the shooting death of rapper Young Dolph are now in police custody. The second suspect was indicted on several charges, including first-degree murder, authorities said. 

One of the suspects, Justin Johnson, wanted for the killing of Young Dolph was located in Indiana Tuesday, U.S. Marshals announced. “After a coordinated investigation by the U.S. Marshals Two Rivers Violent Fugitive Task Force and the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, Justin Johnson was captured today around 3:00 p.m. (C.S.T.) in Indiana,” according to a U.S. Marshals release. 

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

Last week, the U.S. Marshals Service, in conjunction with Memphis police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, announced Johnson as a person of interest in the Nov. 17 slaying of Young Dolph, whose real name was Adolph Thornton Jr.

Police offered up a $15,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. 

Background:Rapper Young Dolph, 36, fatally shot at Memphis bakery, authorities say

More:Suspect identified in slaying of rapper Young Dolph, police offers $15K reward

The Memphis-based rapper, 36, was buying cookies at a South Memphis bakery when two gunmen exited a white Mercedes-Benz and opened fire into the establishment. Police released photos taken from surveillance video that captured the shooting.

In addition to a first-degree murder warrant, Johnson has an outstanding warrant for violation of federal supervised release out of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. The original charge was for a weapon offense.

‘A man after God’s own heart’: Young Dolph remembered for generosity at celebration of life

More:Memphis renames street in Young Dolph’s honor, weeks after rapper’s death

Police indict second suspect in the killing of Young Dolph

Moments following the announcement of Johnson’s arrest, it was announced that Cornelius Smith, 32, had been indicted on several charges, including first-degree murder, according to District Attorney General Amy Weirich’s office.

Smith was arrested Dec. 9 in Southaven, Mississippi, on an auto-theft warrant stemming from the white Mercedes seen in surveillance footage from Nov. 17. The vehicle was recovered Nov. 20 after an anonymous tipster spotted the car and alerted authorities.

‘My heart is torn’: Key Glock breaks silence on Young Dolph’s death, more remember ‘legend’

Smith was extradited to Shelby County from a DeSoto County correctional facility on Tuesday. He is being held without bond at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Complex (201 Poplar). 

In addition to first-degree murder, Smith was indicted on counts of attempted first-degree murder, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, employment of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony and theft of property over $10,000.

During the shooting, Young Dolph’s brother was present with him, according to the DA’s office, and considered the victim of the attempted first-degree murder charge.

Known for his depictions of tough street life and his independent approach to the music business, Young Dolph was admired for charitable works in Memphis. He organized Thanksgiving food giveaways, donated thousands of dollars to high schools, and paid rent and covered funeral costs for people in the Castalia Heights neighborhood where he was raised.

City officials and community activists pointed to the killing as a symbol of the dangers of gun violence in Memphis, where more than 300 homicides were reported last year.

A private funeral was held for Young Dolph on Nov. 30 and a section of a street in the neighborhood where he grew up was renamed for him Dec. 15. He was honored a day later at a public celebration at FedExForum, the home of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzles and the University of Memphis men’s basketball team.

Contributing: Edward Segarra, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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