Video May Undermine DaBaby's Self-Defense Claim

Rolling Stone: Video suggests rapper was 'initial aggressor' in fatal 2018 encounter
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2022 4:11 PM CDT
Video May Undermine DaBaby's Self-Defense Claim
DaBaby attends the world premiere of "Power Book III: Raising Kanan" in NYC on July 15, 2021.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Before he hit it big as a rapper, Jonathan "DaBaby" Kirk shot a man to death in a North Carolina Walmart in 2018. DaBaby claimed self-defense, and police did not charge him in the killing of 19-year-old Jaylin Craig. Now, however, Rolling Stone has unearthed security video of the shooting that it says appears to undermine DaBaby's claim. "From the footage, the rapper appears to be the initial aggressor in the situation," per the story. The Root weighs in: "The footage clearly shows DaBaby throw the first punch at Craig’s friend, Henry Douglas," leading to the melee. DaBaby would later tell police that he felt needed to "get the jump on" the pair, because he felt they were threatening his family.

"While the video complicates DaBaby’s self-defense claim in some ways, it also appears to show Craig begin to pull a firearm out," notes Vulture. Craig "does appear to put the gun back before DaBaby pulls out his own weapon, shooting Craig in the side." DaBaby, who would go on to brag about the shooting in several songs, got his big break with Interscope Records just 11 weeks later. The security footage can be seen here, but note the graphic nature. Read the full Rolling Stone story, which digs into the complications of the case given the state's Stand Your Ground law. It also includes interviews with Craig's family and catalogs other violent incidents involving the rapper. (More DaBaby stories.)

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