FBI had intelligence indicating gang involvement before shooting death of rapper Young Dolph

The Memphis Police Department on Wednesday released photos of suspected suspects in the shooting death of rapper Young Dolph. The rapper, whose real name is Lamar Thornton, was fatally shot early Sunday morning after…

FBI had intelligence indicating gang involvement before shooting death of rapper Young Dolph

The Memphis Police Department on Wednesday released photos of suspected suspects in the shooting death of rapper Young Dolph. The rapper, whose real name is Lamar Thornton, was fatally shot early Sunday morning after leaving an awards show in Memphis. Three suspects are wanted for murder in connection with the killing of Dolph, whose identity was linked to the June murders of rappers Justus League and Quintonio LeGrier during a standoff at a home in Palermo, California.

Conversations had been going on between Young Dolph and members of the African-American Forum Group—an organized community network based in Memphis—about a potential partnership for several weeks. Last month, the network sent the rapper a proposal to buy a nightclub. On July 5, the Black Forum Group met with Thornton at the club to discuss a partnership, according to email conversations in the days following that meeting. “I believe that we have a very good partnership brewing here,” the unidentified head of the African-American Forum Group told Dolph, according to statements Dolph’s father released. Young Dolph, on the other hand, said he would need to meet with other parties before signing off on the deal.

The emails from the network, though, were still something of a red flag. “The emails you are referring to are only memorializing the meetings,” the leader of the African-American Forum Group wrote in an email to Young Dolph, that he eventually turned over to law enforcement. “We need to establish some parameters at the sit-down but I’m open to discussing it.”

According to the father of Dolph, Young Dolph had broken off all communication with the group for several days. The singer later received a series of alerts on his phone from the Houston FBI office and his brother at 11:45 a.m. Sunday with an unidentified man’s voice identifying himself as that of the suspected gunman. The group then released graphic photos of Dolph, who was bleeding from a head wound, to local media, immediately raising concern about possible gang involvement. After the revelation of the contract proposal and subsequent attention to the emails, multiple Memphis authorities spoke to the network about the reports before concluding that the death could have been connected to Dolph’s disagreement with the African-American Forum Group. “We believe it was gang-related,” Assistant Police Chief Eric Prater told Memphis’ News Channel 9 on Tuesday.

“All of my efforts were aimed at making it a competitive process for the business,” Christopher Edwards, the head of the African-American Forum Group, said in a statement released after his son’s death. “We were just two guys trying to do what was right in the community.”

Read the full story at Slate.

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