Crime

After fatal Miami shooting, rapper NBA YoungBoy resurfaces — in a Louisiana jail cell

Miami-Dade police probing YoungBoy’s rivalries to try to identify who might have tried to kill him

Miami-Dade police are probing YoungBoy's rivalries in Baton Rouge to try to identify who might have tried to kill him in Sunny Isles on May 12, 2019.
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Miami-Dade police are probing YoungBoy's rivalries in Baton Rouge to try to identify who might have tried to kill him in Sunny Isles on May 12, 2019.

Five days after someone tried killing him in a hail of bullets outside a Sunny Isles Beach hotel, rapper NBA YoungBoy has resurfaced — in a Louisiana jail cell.

A judge in Baton Rouge on Friday ordered the rapper, Kentrell Gaulden, taken back into custody on suspicion of violating his probation from a shooting three years ago. District Judge Bonnie Jackson cited the shooting and Gaulden’s apparent use of social media in “talking trash and smack,” which may violate his probation, The Advocate reported on Friday.

The 19-year-old Gaulden had been in South Florida to perform at the Rolling Loud hip-hop festival in Miami Gardens. He was staying at the Trump International Beach Resort.

As he and his entourage prepared to go to the show on Sunday afternoon, someone in a black Cadillac Escalade drove past and opened fire. Members of Gaulden’s entourage, all with legally owned weapons, returned fire — one of their stray bullets killed Mohamad Jradi, 43, a Hertz rental car employee who had just finished his shift across the street.

The gun battle also left Gaulden’s girlfriend wounded with a shot to the shoulder. Three bystanders were also grazed: a Texas man, his girlfriend and her 5-year-old son.

Gaulden’s Baton Rouge defense lawyer, James Manasseh, said the rapper was an “absolute victim.”

“He was the victim of an assassination attempt,” Manasseh said in an interview.

Manasseh said the judge saw an online comment on a news article in which she believed she saw Gaulden, in a heavily shadowed video, talking “smack.” But she could no longer find the clip and asked prosecutors to find it.

The defense lawyer also said Gaulden will try to help the family of Jradi. “He told me, ‘I wish they would have gotten me, not him,’” Manasseh said.

Miami-Dade homicide detectives had been unable to interview Gaulden, who slipped away from the chaotic crime scene, managed to perform at Rolling Loud a few hours later and vanished.

Investigators could not charge any of Gaulden’s entourage — they all claimed self-defense in firing wildly at the Escalade. Detectives are working to figure out who was in the Escalade, and the first gunman could still face a felony murder charge for Jradi’s death.

Miami-Dade police detectives have been working with Baton Rouge police to try to untangle Gaulden’s long history of beefs with rivals in the Louisiana city.

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Sunny Isles Beach police officers stand near a van where a man was found shot to death after a nearby shooting that reports say involved rapper NBA Youngboy on May 12, 2019, in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle Getty Images

The teen skyrocketed to rap fame after dropping out of school in the eighth grade. In 2016 he signed a $2 million deal for five albums with Atlantic Records.

But his promising career was sidetracked in November 2016 when police said he was one of two gunmen in a car that opened fire on a group of people standing on a Baton Rouge street. Detectives believed the gunfire was in retaliation for the shooting death hours earlier of one of Gaulden’s crew, Keondre Ricks, a rapper known as NBA Boosie.

One of the passengers in the car was wounded in the neck in the gun battle. Gaulden, then 17, was charged as an adult with two counts of attempted murder. He later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a firearm and was given three years of probation.

But he has continually gotten into trouble, including a domestic-violence indictment in a small town in Georgia while on tour, and a misdemeanor charge for disorderly conduct. His lawyer said the Atlanta charge has been dropped.

Prosecutors in Baton Rouge have been asking the judge to revoke his probation. The judge will hold a probation-violation hearing on June 21, The Advocate reported. Gaulden faces up to 10 years in prison.

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