DaBaby has responded to a recently surfaced video of the deadly 2018 incident at a Charlotte, N.C., Walmart that ended with the rapper (born Jonathan Kirk) shooting and killing a fan named Jaylin Craig. Earlier this week, Rolling Stone posted what it claimed was never-before-seen security footage of the fatal altercation between Craig and Kirk in which DaBaby appears to be the initial aggressor in the incident, which the magazine said called into question the MC’s claim that he acted in self-defense. At press time, Billboard has not independently verified the veracity of the video footage.
On Monday (April 25), DaBaby replied to a tweet from Hot 97 and Beats 1 host Ebro Darden, who wrote, “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?”
DaBaby replied, “Cuz the media got they a– brainwashed.”
Billboard has reached out to DaBaby’s rep for comment.
According to the RS report, just weeks before signing his deal with Interscope Records, Kirk encountered 19-year-old fan Craig at the Walmart on Nov. 5, 2018.
Craig’s family members and best friend Henry Douglas told the magazine that the altercation began when Kirk appeared annoyed that Craig and Douglas recognized him and, irritated, asked them to step outside to fight. Douglas reportedly told the magazine that they thought they recognized the then local MC, but because he “wasn’t dressed in a way befitting a hot, rising rapper” and was shopping for baby clothes in a Walmart, he and Craig “kept walking as he took some extra glances toward Kirk to figure out if it was really him.”
In the footage obtained by RS, Craig is standing in the store when Kirk sucker punches Douglas; the punch reportedly left Douglas with a bruised eye socket and a forehead cut that required stitches. Shortly after, the magazine reported, Craig appears to pull a gun from his waistband, then seemingly puts it back as he walks out of frame. In other footage the magazine said was taken later in the fight — where it’s unclear if Craig still has his gun out — Kirk reportedly appears to pull a concealed Glock from his waistband and allegedly mortally wounds Craig.
Officials reportedly later determined that based on security footage, witness testimony and a weapon found near Craig’s body that Craig did have a gun on him, but it was unclear if he was brandishing it when he approached the rapper.
The altercation reportedly lasted less than a minute and resulted in a “wounded Craig running into a nearby aisle and leaving a trail of blood before collapsing in the same spot where medics would pronounce him dead minutes later.”
“I feel like they just swept it up under the rug,” Craig’s mother, LaWanda Horsley, told RS about the investigation into her son’s death. “[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.” According to RS, DaBaby has steadfastly claimed he acted out of fear for his and his family’s safety in the incident, “describing a scenario where he was approached by two young men who allegedly threatened him and whipped out a firearm while he was shopping with his then-partner and their children.”
RS chronicled what it said was DaBaby’s seeming double-down on commentary about the incident, citing his 2020 breakthrough hit “Rockstar” as one example, in which he appears to boast about his then one-year-old daughter witnessing him killing someone in the lyrics, “My daughter a G/ She saw me kill a n—a in front of her before the age of two.” It also noted that the rapper released a video for “No Tears” four days after Craig’s killing, which compiled local news footage of the incident in the intro with lyrics that seemed to allude to the shooting even as it was still under investigation.
“Daughter could have got hit, son could have got hit [and] me,” DaBaby claimed in an Instagram video days after the shooting. “Lawyers … telling me not to say nothing … But two [people] walk down on you and your whole … family, threatening y’all, whip out [a gun] on y’all, let me see what y’all going to do.” The case was closed in June 2019 with Kirk avoiding prosecution for Craig’s death, instead sentenced and convicted for a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon and then sentenced to 12 months’ probation and a suspended jail sentence.
During his 2019 Billboard cover interview, DaBaby addressed the shooting, saying, “At the end of the day, any legal situation that I got going on, I wasn’t in the wrong. And I’m the type of person, if I ain’t wrong, I’m gonna stand on that. I don’t lose no sleep at all with having s–t going on. I just let the work overpower the s–t.”
Last week, DaBaby responded to reports of a shooting that took place at his North Carolina home, posting a movie clip from the 2002 film Paid in Full on Instagram with the caption, “Heal up & live my boy! Just don’t bring ya a– back.” Police confirmed to Billboard that a person was shot outside DaBaby’s home in Troutman, N.C., on April 13 and that the victim went to the hospital with a non-life-threatening injury. While police didn’t say at the time whether DaBaby was involved in the shooting, a 911 call since posted by TMZ appeared to be made by Kirk, in which the rapper tells the operator, “This guy was trespassing on my property. … I shot him in his leg.”
Currently, DaBaby is facing two civil lawsuits in California for the assault of Brandon Curiel, the brother of his ex-girlfriend R&B singer DaniLeigh. In February, Kirk and Curiel were involved in a skirmish inside a bowling alley, where DaBaby and his entourage reportedly attacked the latter. While Curiel claimed that the incident caused him “severe injury and pain,” DaBaby has publicly debunked those claims and stated he was protecting himself as a means of self-defense.
Click here to read the full RS report. See DaBaby’s tweet below.
Cuz the media got they ass brainwashed https://t.co/CIPgIcfypW
— DaBaby (@DaBabyDaBaby) April 25, 2022