Just 11 weeks before signing a career-changing deal with Interscope Records, DaBaby, whose real name is Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, allegedly shot and killed 19-year-old Jaylin Craig inside a Walmart in Huntersville, a suburb outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, Nov. 5, 2018.
Rolling Stone reported that newly obtained surveillance footage from the shooting paints the now seven-time Grammy-nominated DaBaby as the aggressor and could shake his argument that he fired in self-defense.
After the deadly shooting, the rapper hopped on his Instagram and claimed in a video on his story that men approached him and whipped out a gun when DaBaby was shopping with his then-girlfriend and their five-year-old and 1-year-old children. Kirk argued he fired his own weapon to defend his family.
Kirk was never prosecuted in Craig’s death.
Craig’s family has said the teen was a fan of the up-and-coming rapper when he and a longtime friend, Henry Douglas, recognized DaBaby at the Walmart. The family claims the new video obtained by Rolling Stone proves their son was attempting to diffuse an ongoing brawl when he was killed.
The footage shows Douglas standing in a Walmart aisle with his hands in his pockets when DaBaby barrels toward him into the frame and a scuffle between the two ensues.
Craig is seen attempting to get in the middle of the two. A third clip shows DaBaby pick up a gun from the floor, point it away from him as if motioning to fire and then conceal the weapon in his pants.
Video shows Craig pulled out a gun at one point during the brawl, but it was unclear if he first brandished it at DaBaby or if he had returned it to his waistband when the rapper fatally shot him.
"I feel like they just swept it up under the rug," Craig’s mother, LaWanda Horsley, told Rolling Stone. "[Kirk] knows what he did. I’m not doing this for no fame or anything, because at the end of the day, Jaylin Craig is gone."
The Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office initially charged the rapper with a misdemeanor offense of carrying a concealed weapon but later dismissed the charge March 2019 when a key witness failed to show in court. The state picked up the same charge, and Kirk was convicted in June 2019.
Judge Tyyawdi Hands, later photographed with the rapper in the summer of 2020 at a Black Lives Matter event, sentenced Kirk to 12 months of unsupervised probation, with a suspended 30-day jail sentence.
The district attorney’s office told Rolling Stone it "reviewed the police investigative file and agreed with the Huntersville Police Department’s decision not to charge Mr. Kirk further, as prosecutors could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense."
DaBaby has reacted to the news of the video clip resurfacing on his verified Twitter account.
Hot 107.9 radio personality Ebro asked, "Why are people acting like the 2018 video of Da Baby’s Walmart incident wasn’t already seen by Walmart, The Police and the courts?"
"Cuz the media got they a** brainwashed," DaBaby wrote in response Monday.
"In my eyes, I feel like [Jaylin] was murdered," Craig’s father, Curtis, told Rolling Stone. "And [Kirk] got away with it. Everything he [does] is pretty much the same thing. He’s assaulting people, he’s getting away with it. Every case that you look at, they’re dismissing it. Why is he getting off?"
This comes after a man was shot and wounded outside DaBaby’s North Carolina mansion earlier this month. It was not immediately clear if the rapper was the one who fired.
Last summer, Fox News Digital reported that two men, including one belonging to DaBaby’s entourage, were arrested in connection to a shooting over Memorial Day weekend outside Prime 112 steakhouse in Miami Beach. DaBaby was also questioned but released without any charges.
That wasn’t the rapper's first run-in with police in the Miami area. In January 2020, Kirk was arrested in Miami after he and a group of men allegedly punched a music promoter short $10,000 on a payment for a performance, CBS News previously reported. Once in custody, police learned that DaBaby also had an active warrant for his arrest in Texas from a battery charge.
Last summer, DaBaby was condemned for homophobic remarks about people with HIV/AIDs.