Police have released new information in the shooting death of a beloved Memphis rapper.
The Memphis police asked the public for assistance in identifying the men shown on a surveillance video shooting at the rapper Young Dolph, whose given name was Adolph Thornton, Jr., on Wednesday afternoon. They released two photos of the men and one photo of their car on Twitter, identifying the car only as a “white two-door Mercedes Benz.”
In one of the photos, the men can be seen running up to the sidewalk in front of Makeda’s Butter Cookies next to Young Dolph’s readily identifiable camouflage-painted Corvette. The one in front can be seen wielding a AK-47-style, short-barreled automatic or semi-automatic rifle, while the one in back can be seen raising a handgun. The Mercedes, with an open passenger door, can be seen pulled up behind Dolph’s car.
In the Tweet, police asked anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers at (901) 528-CASH.
Dolph, 36, was shot on Wednesday around 12:30 p.m. while patronizing the Black-owned business Makeda’s Butter Cookies near the Memphis Airport. He was pronounced dead at the scene and video from Memphis Fox affiliate WHBQ shows significant damage to the store.
On Thursday, the boarded-up store, which is currently closed indefinitely according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, had been turned into a makeshift memorial for the rapper, with candles, stuffed animals, flowers and balloons left there to celebrate his memory. The boards covering the heavy damaged were already covered in graffiti paying tribute to the rapper, his work and his company, Paper Route.
Yard signs reading “Stop the killings” were placed around the property, according to the paper.
Mia Jaye, Dolph’s long-time partner and the mother of his children, daughter Aria and son Tre Tre, posted messages of mourning to her Instagram Stories.
“Question is… How am I going to tell to my babies that daddy is never coming home?” she wrote over a video clip of Dolph helping their daughter do sit-ups listed as a memory from Nov. 6.
In follow-up frames, she reiterated her love for her partner and thanked everyone for their prayers and messages. She also advocated for people to donate to Makeda’s and otherwise support the business.
“Adolph lost his life supporting a small business that has purpose, a story & located in the very neighborhood that raised him,” she wrote under a picture of Dolph and one of the owners taken from a GoFundMe for the business. (The business, which opened in 1999, is named after the owners’ niece who died of leukemia in 1997.) “Every time He visited South Memphis, he would bring home #makedascookies for us to enjoy.”
“Don’t be mad this is where he took his last breath, let this serve as a memorial to how HUMAN @youngdolph was and how he moved in ways only to bless others,” she added.
“If you love him, keep this business going,” she finished, signing her name.
Pamela and Maurice Hill, who own Makeda’s, told the Commercial Appeal that everyone involved in their business was “hurting” in the wake of the shooting, and they planned to use donations from the GoFundMe to pay their employees while the shop remained closed and offer grief counseling.
“It’s overwhelming to us that people do care about us in this city,” Pamela told the paper. “They are grieving and they are supporting us, in spite of him losing his life.”
They are thinking of naming a cookie after him, noting that the business and its cookies have been a way to keep the name and memory of their niece alive.
Dolph began his rap career with mixtapes in Memphis, founding his own record label, Paper Route Empire, to produce and release his studio albums starting in 2016. He had been increasingly successful both critically and commercially in the years since.
He had also become embroiled in an ongoing dispute with another Memphis-based rapper, Yo Gotti (Mario Mims). After series of back-and-forth diss tracks with Gotti starting in 2016, Dolph’s car was shot up after a performance in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2017; he was uninjured, but an associate of Gotti’s, Blac Youngsta, was arrested in the case before the charges were ultimately dropped in 2019.
Dolph himself was injured after a shooting outside the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles in September 2017, according to The Guardian. Gotti was initially named as a person of interest in that case as well, but a connection of Gotti’s originally arrested in the incident was also released without charges.
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