Tennessee authorities have identified a suspect in the fatal shooting of Young Dolph, the Memphis-based rapper who was shot and killed outside of a local cookie shop in November. On Wednesday, the Memphis Police Department in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an arrest warrant for 23-year-old Justin Johnson, who has been charged in connection to the fatal shooting and has also been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's "Most Wanted" list.
According to a statement posted Wednesday, Johnson is wanted on first-degree murder. In addition to the first-degree murder arrest warrant, Johnson already has an outstanding warrant for violating federal supervised release after a weapon offense. The statement added that Johnson "has ties to organized criminal gangs and should be considered armed and dangerous" and that "since the issuance of the murder warrant, U.S. Marshals and MPD have been extensively searching for Johnson." Johnson is described as being approximately 5'8" and 190 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He also has a tattoo that reads "Jaiya" on his right arm. A $15,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest.
The break in the case comes two months after Dolph, 36, was shot and killed while buying cookies at Makeda's Homemade Butter Cookies in Memphis, Tennessee on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Authorities said, "The suspects approached the victim while he was inside the business and shot the victim several times. The suspects then fled the scene." Just a day after the shooting, police released photos taken from surveillance footage that showed suspects getting out of a white two-door Mercedes-Benz armed with firearms and approaching Dolph. Police said the suspects shot Dolph, born Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., several times before fleeing. Police did not say on Wednesday if they are still searching for a second suspect.
Days after Dolph's tragic death, his longtime partner Mia Jaye broke her silence. In a message posted to her Instagram Story alongside a video of Dolph playing with their daughter, Ari, Jaye wrote, "Question is... How am I ever going to tell my babies that daddy is never coming home?" In a separate post, she thanked fans of the "Rich Slave" rapper "for all of your prayers, love, support, messages... I may not see them all but when my eyes are not full of tears I catch a few. Nonetheless, all the genuine positive, vibes, energy, and prayers are welcome... Because Lord knows I need them."
A native of Chicago who grew up in Memphis, Dolph released his first studio album, King of Memphis, in 2016. He went on to release several more albums in the following years including his fifth album, 2020's Rich Slave, which rose to No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart. Dolph is survived by Jaye and their two children, Ari and Tre. Anyone with information on Johnson's whereabouts is urged to call 901-378-3132 or 1-800-TBI-FIND.