DaBaby responds after footage emerges of 2018 fatal Walmart shooting

The rapper has claimed he acted in self-defence when he shot and killed a 19-year-old at the store, but newly published footage suggests an alternate sequence of events

Security footage has been published of the 2018 altercation in which DaBaby (aka Jonathan Kirk) shot and killed 19-year-old Jaylin Craig, which the rapper has consistently claimed was in self-defence.

The incident took place on November 5 2018 at a Walmart in Huntersville, North Carolina. On April 24, Rolling Stone published security footage that it says shows the lead-up to the shooting and its aftermath and appears to potentially contradict the rapper’s version of events.

According to Kirk, two young men – Craig and his friend Henry Douglas – approached and allegedly threatened the rapper while he was at the store shopping with his then-partner and children. Kirk fired the gun that killed Craig, Kirk has always claimed, to protect himself and his family.

In the newly published surveillance footage, Kirk can be seen lunging towards at Douglas and punching him. Craig can be seen reaching for a firearm from his waistband but tucking it back in, then attempting to break up the fight between Kirk and Douglas.

The footage then shows an uninvolved shopper fleeing, presumably after Kirk had fired his gun, as he then reappears in the frame and puts the weapon back in his pocket.

Kirk had told police that Craig and Douglas initiated the fight, saying the pair had been lurking nearby before finally approaching him, threatening him and pulling out a firearm. “Daughter could have got hit, son could have got hit, [and] me,” he said in an Instagram video days after the altercation.

“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.”

Douglas claimed to Rolling Stone that the incident began after Kirk became annoyed that he had been recognised by Douglas and Craig, and the rapper allegedly demanded they go outside into the parking lot and fight.

Kirk reportedly did not face charges over Craig’s death, though in June 2019, the rapper was charged and convicted of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, and was sentenced to a suspended sentence with 12 months’ probation.

According to Rolling Stone, the surveillance footage was in the police case file that Craig’s mother LaWanda Horsley was handed in April 2021. When the publication asked the district attorney’s office why Kirk did not face more serious charges, a representative said the office had “reviewed the police investigative file and agreed with the Huntersville Police Department’s decision not to charge Mr. Kirk further, as prosecutors could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense”.

NME has reached out to Kirk’s lawyer Drew Findling for comment.

Since the footage emerged publicly, Kirk has appeared to reference it on social media, writing that those “preying on me can’t fuck wit the people praying for me”.

He also responded to a tweet by Hot 97 radio personality Ebro Darden, who asked: “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 that the media has got people “brainwashed”.

Craig’s mother Horsley told Rolling Stone she felt authorities “just swept it under the rug” when it came to 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.”

Kirk has appeared to reference the incident on multiple tracks, including on the track ‘No Tears’, which arrived four days after Craig’s death and featured him rapping: “Any n***a touch me, catch a body like Boosie / Try me, I’m shootin’ / No back and forth, just up it, I’m blowin’.”

On 2020 hit ‘Rockstar’, he rapped: “My daughter a G, she saw me kill a n***a in front of her before the age of two.” On last year’s ‘Masterpiece’, the rapper again alluded to the incident: “I don’t know what went down at that Walmart / I don’t know what happened on that freeway.”

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