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Second Young Dolph Slaying Suspect Captured By U.S. Marshals After Failing to Turn Himself In

The suspect wanted in the shooting and killing of rapper Young Dolph a week before last Thanksgiving has been captured following a manhunt. 

In a statement released on Tuesday, Jan. 11, the U.S. Marshals announced that they had successfully arrested Justin Johnson in Indiana. The 23-year-old is wanted in connection to the shooting death of the Memphis, Tennessee-born emcee last November. 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 30: Young Dolph performs during Rolling Loud New York 2021 at Citi Field on October 30, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images)

“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,” the memo read. 

Authorities described Johnson as having “ties to organized criminal gangs” and noted that he  “should be considered armed and dangerous.”

Earlier this week, Johnson, a fellow rapper who goes by the moniker “Straight Drop,” announced on social media that he would be turning himself in to authorities after the Memphis Police Department announced a first-degree murder warrant for Johnson. However, Shelby Country District Attorney’s office said he failed to appear.

A second alleged gunman, Cornelius Smith, was arrested on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, on an auto-theft warrant involving the white Mercedes-Benz reportedly used in the “Preach” emcee’s fatal shooting. The vehicle was discovered at an abandoned home just a few miles from the shooting. 

Smith was transferred to Shelby County Jail and later indicted by a grand jury on several charges, including first-degree murder, employment of a firearm with intent to commit a felony, unlawfully carrying or possessing a weapon, and theft of property between $10,000 and $60,000.  

Dolph, whose real is Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 17, in his hometown while making a purchase inside Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies. The “Talking to My Scale” rapper reportedly often frequented the local Black-owned business whenever he was in town. 

Fans and artists alike mourned the late rapper, whose legacy was rooted in giving back to those in his community. He was most noted for his annual Thanksgiving giveaway.  On Nov. 19, the “You Got It” rapper’s artists, including Snupe Bandz, Paper Route Woo, and DJ Rocksteddy, carried out the tradition by hosting the giveaway that Dolph planned to attend at the St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis.

Dolph is survived by his two children, Ari and Tre, and his partner, Mia Jaye. 


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