South Florida

Handgun bought by Kodak Black was used in attempt to shoot rival rapper, feds say

Kodak Black arrested on federal and state weapons charges

Florida rapper Kodak Black was arrested on federal and state weapons charges just before he was supposed to perform at the Rolling Loud Music Festival on May 11, 2019.
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Florida rapper Kodak Black was arrested on federal and state weapons charges just before he was supposed to perform at the Rolling Loud Music Festival on May 11, 2019.

A handgun illegally purchased by South Florida rapper Kodak Black was used in an attempt to shoot another rapper in Pompano Beach in March, a federal prosecutor claims in court papers seeking to keep the singer behind bars before trial on separate weapons charges.

“A rival rap artist was the intended target,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Brown said in the new filing.

Brown disclosed the information for the first time as he urged a Miami federal judge to hold Black, 21, after a magistrate judge granted him a $550,000 bond following his arrest earlier this month. Black was handcuffed before his May 11 performance at the Rolling Loud music festival at Hard Rock Stadium. Since then, Black has been held at the Miami Federal Detention Center.

Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres said he granted the bond with conditions of house arrest and electronic monitoring, anticipating that Black would soon be transferred to state authorities in South Carolina, where he is facing sexual assault charges. State authorities there have moved to revoke Black’s bond in that case because of the new federal weapons charges in Miami, court records show.

Black’s defense attorney, Bradford Cohen, urged U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno to affirm Torres’ decision, saying his client is also willing to pay for 24-hour supervision by a former federal agent while he is under house arrest at his home in Miramar. Cohen challenged the prosecutor’s claim that Black is a danger to the community and a flight risk.

Cohen said the federal prosecutor referred only to “circumstantial evidence” about the March 7 shooting in Pompano Beach, saying Black has not yet seen it. He also accused Brown of exaggerating Black’s “storied criminal history,” noting that while he has been arrested several times he has not been convicted of a felony as an adult. Cohen said his client had only been convicted as a youthful offender.

Moreno scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to resolve the dispute over Black’s pre-trial detention.

In Miami federal court, Black is charged with lying about his criminal history during a background check when he purchased three firearms at a licensed gun dealer in Hialeah on Jan. 25 and again when he attempted to buy more weapons on March 1. The purchases were approved the first time because Black, whose legal name is Bill K. Kapri, also altered his Social Security number on a federal form for the background check. He used his actual number during the second purchase, which was ultimately blocked because the check showed that he was facing previous criminal charges in South Carolina.

In his appeal on Black’s bond, the prosecutor said one of the handguns that the rapper purchased in January at Lou’s Police Distributors — a Sig MPXK9 for more than $2,000 — was recovered at the March 7 shooting that targeted an unnamed rival artist in the low-income Golden Acres section of Pompano Beach.

“The firearm had a live round in the chamber and apparently jammed during the shooting,” Brown wrote to Moreno, the federal judge. “Fingerprints taken off the firearm belonged to the defendant.”

Brown said Broward Sheriff’s deputies found the loaded Sig MPXK9 left at the scene by the shooters — along with “several spent casings” that were possibly discharged from other firearms.

The prosecutor said fingerprints taken off the Sig “belonged to the defendant [Black],” and that “witnesses indicated the shooters arrived in at least two vehicles,” including a Porsche Panamera sedan rented by the rapper. Sheriff’s deputies later found the Panamera abandoned with severe vehicle damage in Lauderhill. It was equipped with a GPS, which showed the Panamera was in the Golden Acres neighborhood at the time of the shooting.

“Witnesses put the defendant at the scene as well,” Brown wrote in the court filing, adding that the Broward Sheriff’s investigation into the shooting is continuing.

News media reports indicate there were two shootings on the evening of March 7 in the Golden Acres neighborhood, but it’s unclear whether they were related to the incident involving Black’s Sig handgun on the same date. Gunshots were fired at two homes — including one with three children inside — in the 1600 block of NW 14th Circle.

The rapper’s indictment in Miami stems from his filling out a Firearms Transaction Record, or Form 4473, a federal document that must be completed to buy a gun from a registered dealer. According to the indictment, Black twice lied on the forms, in January and March, for purchases or attempted purchases at Lou’s, the popular gun store in Hialeah. The form asks whether the applicant is facing an indictment or “information in any court” for a felony in which a judge could send him to prison for more than a year. Black answered “no” instead of “yes.”

A second handgun that Black purchased from Lou’s in January was found in the trunk of a Porsche Panamera as it crossed the Canada-U.S. border with the rapper’s entourage after a performance last month. Black, who was drving in a Cadillac Escalade, had eight grams of marijuana and $17,000 cash in his possession. He was charged with criminal possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Black was arrested before the Rolling Loud concert on May 11 by federal agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals and Miami-Dade’s Northside gangs unit. The rapper is also facing separate weapons charges in Miami-Dade state criminal court.

Black, who grew up in Pompano Beach, has skyrocketed to popularity over the past six years. His December 2018 album, “Dying to Live,” debuted at the top of the Billboard albums chart. Black’s hits include songs such as “Tunnel Vision,” “No Flockin” and ″Wake Up in the City” with Gucci Mane and Bruno Mars.

However, a long string of legal problems have plagued his career.

Many of his troubles have emerged in his native Broward County. Last year, he was arrested after deputies said he hosted a party in which a guest waved a gun in the air near a baby’s face. Deputies found a handgun and ammo at his home. The charges were later dropped. At the time of that arrest, Black was on felony probation for robbery and false imprisonment.

Miami Herald staff writer David Ovalle contributed to this report.

Jay Weaver writes about bad guys who specialize in con jobs, rip-offs and squirreling away millions. Since joining the Miami Herald in 1999, he’s covered the federal courts nonstop, from Elian’s custody battle to A-Rod’s steroid abuse. He was on the Herald team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news in 2001. He and three Herald colleagues were Pulitzer Prize finalists for explanatory reporting in 2019 for a series on gold smuggled from South America to Miami.