Florida rapper Foolio, 26, killed in car park shooting

<span>Killed during birthday celebrations … Foolio.</span><span>Photograph: julio_foolio / Instagram</span>
Killed during birthday celebrations … Foolio.Photograph: julio_foolio / Instagram

US rapper Foolio has died at the age of 26 after being shot in a hotel car park in Tampa, Florida.

The rapper, real name Charles Jones, had amassed tens of millions of streams for a discography that stretches back to 2017.

He was killed on Sunday morning amid celebrations for his birthday, according to his lawyer Lewis Fusco. After reports of a shooting, police arrived to discover two vehicles had been shot at, “basically ambushed” according to Fusco.

Jones was pronounced dead, while three others are being treated at a nearby hospital. Police said they are working to ascertain a motive and identify possible suspects.

Jones was celebrated for his hard-edged yet emotional brand of trap music, with collaborators including the top producer Zaytoven and rappers such as Blueface and G Herbo.

Announcing his album Resurrection, in April, Jones said although he had been subjected to “multiple attempts on my life I keep surviving”. An official biography on his Spotify page says he lost 15 friends to violence before the age of 20, he had been shot as a teenager and had also experienced “long-term imprisonment as a young adult”.

In 2021, he was grazed by a bullet in a drive-by shooting in Jacksonville, and said he returned fire in self-defence.

Jones was arrested in Jacksonville in 2022 for an excessive tint on his car window, as well as “felony fleeing”, which eventually led to him taking six months probation as part of a plea deal. During an interrogation, he rejected that his music could be blamed for violence. “You can’t just say it’s my music that’s why somebody died,” he told an officer.