Rapper Young Dolph dies at 36 in Memphis shooting


Rapper Young Dolph was killed in a shooting near a well-known bakery in Memphis on Wednesday, his lawyer confirmed. He was 36.

Young Dolph, whose name is Adolph Robert Thornton, Jr., was in Memphis for his annual Thanksgiving giveaway, attorney Scott Hall told NBC News. He was on his way to the event to hand out turkeys when he stopped at the bakery and was fatally shot, Hall said.

Memphis Police Department Chief CJ Davis said in a statement Wednesday that officers responded to the shooting at 12:24 p.m. at an address on Airways Boulevard, southeast of downtown Memphis.

The address of the shooting given by police is also the location of Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies.

The victim, preliminarily identified by the police department as Thornton, was pronounced dead at the scene, Davis said.

“The shooting is another example of the senseless gun violence we are experiencing locally and nationwide,” Davis said. “Our hearts go out to the Thornton family and all who are affected by this horrific act of violence.”

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland added in a statement his death offered another reminder “of the pain that violent crime brings with it.”

Amid news reports the rapper was killed on Wednesday afternoon, rappers and influencers alike took to Twitter to express their grief and shock.

“God bless Dolph,” Chance the Rapper tweeted. “Real independent Memphis rapper born in chicago. loved by millions of ppl. Always showed love everytime I seen him this is tragic God bless his family man.”

Rapper Gucci Mane said: “R.I.P. to my friend Dolph this broke my heart.”

“Damn man, me and Dolph used to be next door neighbors. Smh. RIP DOLPH,” rapper Lil Yachty said.

DJ Akademiks tweeted footage of a local newscast and said the scene of the shooting was flooded with fans and police.

The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis reported Thornton was born in Chicago but moved to Memphis as an infant.

He launched his career with a series of mixtapes beginning in 2008, moving up the hip-hop ranks and Billboard charts in 2016 with Gold-certified hits like “100 Shots” while his 2020 album “Rich Slave” peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.

The Commercial Appeal also said Wednesday’s shooting was not his first experience with gun violence.

Thornton had been the victim of two other shootings in 2017.

In February of 2017, in Charlotte, North Carolina, a suspect fired more than 100 rounds at a heavily armored SUV that Thornton would later credit with saving his life. 

Later in 2017, Thornton was critically injured after a suspect shot him multiple times outside of a Hollywood hotel in Los Angeles. He made a full recovery, the newspaper reported.

Variety reported that Thornton was the cousin of Chicago rapper Juice Wrld, who died of a drug overdose at Midway International Airport in 2019.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

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