U.S. Marshals have identified a 23-year-old with “ties to organized criminal gangs” as a suspect in connection to the ambush killing of Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., widely known as Memphis rapper Young Dolph.
A warrant for first-degree murder has been issued for Justin Johnson.
U.S. Marshals, along with the Memphis Police Department, Crime Stoppers and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to Johnson’s arrest.
Johnson is alleged to have been one of the shooters, who ambushed Young Dolph on Nov. 17 at Makeda’s Homemade “Butter Cookies” at 2370 Airways Blvd.
He has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted List.
Thornton, 36, was known to visit the cookie shop and was shot to death soon after stepping inside. Johnson was one of those shooters, Marshals say.
Johnson is also wanted for violation of federal supervised release on a weapons charge.
Pastor Rodney Herron of St. James Baptist Church (in Castalia) said the church, which Young Dolph grew up in, as well as Young Dolph’s family is certainly welcoming the news of a development in the case.
“We are all just elated about this news,” said Herron. “We know an arrest hasn’t been made yet, but identifying one of the shooters is certainly a step in the right direction. Hopefully, the family and all those friends and fans out there can begin a journey to getting closure.”
Herron said Johnson should turn himself in for his own safety, now that he has been identified.
“We want everyone to let law enforcement handle the case,” said Herron. “But everyone does not have that same mindset. Justin Johnson just got a target put on his back.”
Johnson is about 5’8’ tall and weighs approximately 190 pounds. He has the name “Jaiya” tattooed on his right arm.
The Marshals said Johnson should be considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone with any information on Johnson’s whereabouts should call the U.S. Marshals at 901-275-4562; 901-601-1575, or 731-571-0280.
Anonymous tips may also be submitted via the U.S. Marshals Tip App.
Information can also be given on the TBI lines: 901-378-3132, or 1-800-TBI-FIND.