Young Dolph: Warrant issued after murder suspect identified by police

A suspect wanted in connection with the murder of rapper Young Dolph has been identified by authorities.

Justin Johnson, 23, is the subject of a first-degree murder warrant issued by the Memphis Police Department. He is alleged to have shot Young Dolph, born Adolph Robert Thornton, while he was at a bakery in Memphis last year on 17 November.

According to a joint press release from the Memphis Police, the US Marshals Service and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Johnson also has an outstanding warrant for violating a federal supervised release in a weapons case, as well as having “ties to organised criminal gangs”.

A $15,000 (£11,000) reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest. Authorities said Johnson is five feet, eight inches (1.7 meters) tall, weighs 190 pounds (86 kilograms) and has the name “Jaiya” tattooed on his right arm.

Young Dolph’s aunt, Rita Myers, told Rolling Stone this week that his family still has no closure on his death because a suspect has not been apprehended.

“There’s not any closure for us with this news, because [Johnson] is not in custody, and we still don’t have all the facts,” she said. “We still feel the same. This news just made me feel worse. I thought it would make me feel better, but it didn’t.

“All I know is, anyone who could walk up and take the life of another person for no reason is someone with hate in their heart, a person who has no regard for life, a person who cares about nothing.”

Born in Chicago and raised in Memphis, Young Dolph rose to fame via a series of mixtapes and an appearance on the OT Genesis hit “Cut It” in 2015. His debut album, King of Memphis, was released that year, and followed by projects including 2020’s critically acclaimed Rich Slave.

His death was met with an outpouring of grief from fellow artists, fans and his local community.

The 36-year-old was well-regarded as a fiercely independent artist who regularly gave back to his hometown. Shortly before the shooting, he had reportedly been handing out Thanksgiving turkeys.

“The tragic shooting death of rap artist Young Dolph serves as another reminder of the pain that violent crime brings with it,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said in a statement last year.