New York rapper Lil Tjay was shot dead Wednesday morning at a New Jersey mall during an attempted robbery, authorities said. Three suspects were arrested.
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After a call to 911, the police responded to the Drive to Edgewater around 12:08 a.m. EDT, WABC-TV reported. At the scene, authorities discovered the rapper, real name Tione Jayden Merritt, as well as Jeffrey Valdez, 24, and Antoine Boyd, 22, both of Bronx, New York, the Bergen Record reported.
Merritt, 21, was punched multiple times, the Bergen County District Attorney’s Office told the newspaper. His condition was unknown. Boyd was also injured, prosecutors said. Valdez suffered injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, WABC reported.
Prosecutors said in a press release that Mohamad Konate, 27, of New York City, was arrested by detectives from the Bergen County District Attorney’s Office and the New York Police Department.
Konate was charged with three counts of attempted first degree murder, one count of second degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, one count of unlawful possession of a second degree weapon, one count of certain persons in the second degree not to possess a firearm and one count of aggravated assault in the fourth degree.
Valdez and Boyd were also arrested, the Record reported. They were each charged with unlawful possession of a second-degree weapon, prosecutors said in their press release. Both were held in Bergen County Jail.
TMZ was the first outlet to report the shooting.
Merritt, rapping as Lil Tjay, has 7 million Instagram followers and has released two studio albums through Columbia Records, the Record reported. Both albums charted in the top five on the Billboard 200. His song with singer 6lack, “Calling My Phone,” debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and reached No. 1 in February 2021. It had three other songs hit the top 10, according to Billboard.
Merritt posted an Instagram Story Tuesday night that read, “Just because you’ve been around someone doesn’t mean you’re entitled to the fruits of that person’s labor.” Envy is at its highest Be safe Otchea.
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