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Lil Tjay Shot During Attempted Robbery in New Jersey, Suspect Arrested

Two friends of the Bronx-born rapper were also arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon

Rolling Stone Jun 23, 2022

Lil Tjay arrives at the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on March 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

By KAT BOUZA & JON BLISTEIN

A New York City man was charged with attempted murder Wednesday after an early morning shooting in New Jersey left rapper Lil Tjay with multiple gunshot wounds in what authorities call a botched robbery attempt, according to a release from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

In addition to the attempted murder allegation, Mohamed Konate, 27, was also arrested on charges of armed robbery and weapons offenses, the release states.

Authorities say Lil Tjay, legal name Tione Jayden Merritt, was shot several times shortly after midnight on June 22 at the Promenade, a mixed-use development in Edgewater, New Jersey. Two friends, identified by authorities as Jeffrey Valdez, 24, and Antoine Boyd, 22, were with Merritt at the time of the shooting. Upon arriving at the scene, officers found Merritt “with multiple gunshot wounds” and Boyd “with a single gunshot wound.”

Merritt’s companions were also arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.

Although some media reports indicated the Bronx-born rapper was undergoing surgery after the incident, authorities would not confirm the status of those injured. A report from northjersey.com claims law enforcement said one victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition is now “stable,” while the other victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

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Representatives for Lil Tjay have not returned Rolling Stone‘s requests for comment.

Before the incident, the 21-year-old rapper posted a since-deleted ominous message on his Instagram Stories: “Just because you’ve been around a person doesn’t make you entitled to the fruits of that persons labor. Envy Is At An All Time High Be Safe Outchea.”

Lil Tjay first garnered attention as a teenager, scoring his first major hit, “Brothers,” in 2018. The track helped Tjay land a deal with Columbia Records, through which he’s released a string of EPs and two full-length albums, 2019’s True 2 Myself, and 2021’s Destined 2 Win. Tjay has released two solo singles this year, including “In My Head” and “Goin Up,” and appeared on several songs with other artists, such as YNW Melly (“Best Friends 4L”) and Kaash Paige (“24 Hrs”). 

From Rolling Stone US.

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