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Young Dolph murder: US Marshals issue reward for suspect Justin Johnson after issuing arrest warrant

Police have told the public to be on the lookout for a suspect they believe to have committed the murder of rapper Young Dolph, who was gunned down in a daylight ambush at a popular cookie shop in November in his hometown of Memphis.

A first-degree murder warrant was issued for Justin Johnson, 23, on Wednesday in the Nov. 17 shooting of Young Dolph, whose real name is Adolph Thornton Jr., the U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release.

The Marshals Service and the Memphis Police Department have been searching for suspects in the killing. A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.

The shooting stunned the city of Memphis and shocked the entertainment world. Police said two men exited a white Mercedes-Benz and fired shots into a Memphis bakery where Young Dolph, 36, was buying cookies and killed him. 

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This image released by the U.S. Marshals Service shows Justin Johnson. An arrest warrant has been issued for Johnson, 23, in connection with the Nov. 17, 2021, fatal shooting of rapper Young Dolph, who was gunned down in a daylight ambush at a popular cookie shop in his hometown of Memphis, authorities said Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.

This image released by the U.S. Marshals Service shows Justin Johnson. An arrest warrant has been issued for Johnson, 23, in connection with the Nov. 17, 2021, fatal shooting of rapper Young Dolph, who was gunned down in a daylight ambush at a popular cookie shop in his hometown of Memphis, authorities said Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.
(U.S. Marshals Service via AP)

Police released photos taken from surveillance video that captured the shooting that showed the two suspects and the car they were driving, which was involved in another fatal shooting prior. However, investigators have not released any information about a possible motive.

CAR USED IN YOUNG DOLPH’S KILLING TIED TO 2ND DEADLY SHOOTING DAYS PRIOR BY POLICE

Rapper Young Dolph was shot and killed while visiting a bakery in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee in November. He was 36. 

Rapper Young Dolph was shot and killed while visiting a bakery in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee in November. He was 36. 
(Photo by John Lamparsk)

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.

Fans of Young Dolph set up a memorial outside of Makeda's Cookies bakery on November 18, 2021, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Fans of Young Dolph set up a memorial outside of Makeda’s Cookies bakery on November 18, 2021, in Memphis, Tennessee.
(Photo by Justin Ford)

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 Grizzlies and the University of Memphis men’s basketball team.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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