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Rapper Young Dolph dies at 36 in Memphis shooting

The hip-hop performer launched his career in 2008. His album "Rich Slave" peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard charts last year.
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Rapper Young Dolph was killed in a shooting near a well-known bakery in Memphis, Tennessee, on Wednesday, his lawyer confirmed. He was 36.

Young Dolph, whose name was Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., was in Memphis for his annual Thanksgiving giveaway, said the lawyer, Scott Hall. 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 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 is the location of Makeda's Homemade Butter Cookies.

The victim, whom police preliminarily identified 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," she said. "Our hearts go out to the Thornton family and all who are affected by this horrific act of violence."

Mayor Jim Strickland added in a statement that Young Dolph's death offered another reminder "of the pain that violent crime brings with it."

Davis said at a news conference Wednesday night that police were deploying more officers in areas "impacted" by the killing, and she encouraged people to stay home.

Davis said that a motive wasn't clear and that investigators were gathering details from witnesses to try to identify the shooter.

It was also unclear whether any cameras in the area might have recorded the killing.

Amid news reports that Young Dolph had been killed Wednesday afternoon, rappers and influencers expressed their grief and shock on Twitter.

"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 video of a local newscast and said the scene of the shooting was flooded with fans and police.

The Commercial Appeal newspaper of Memphis reported that Young Dolph was born in Chicago and 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 the 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 said Wednesday's shooting wasn't his first experience with gun violence. He had been the victim of two other shootings in 2017.

In February 2017, in Charlotte, North Carolina, a person fired more than 100 rounds at a heavily armored SUV, which he would credit with saving his life. 

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

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