Breaking News
More () »

Authorities detail how they tracked down suspects in murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph

Three men have now been arrested in the case, including the two authorities believe pulled the trigger and killed Young Dolph in November.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Many new details emerged Wednesday at a news conference with U.S. Marshals, Memphis Police, and the Shelby County District Attorney, who updated the arrests of two suspects in the murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph.

Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith were arrested and indicted in the November 17, 2021, killing of 36-year-old Adolph Thornton Jr., known as Young Dolph. Dolph was shot and killed at a popular cookie shop in south Memphis.

A third man, Shundale Barnett, is facing charges of accessory after the fact to first degree murder, accused of assisting Justin Johnson as he evaded law enforcement in Indiana.

Credit: U.S. Marshals Service
Shundale Barnett

In the nearly two months since Young Dolph's shooting death, law enforcement received hundreds of tips and leads, which led to a cross-country manhunt and capture of one suspect, the charging of another suspect locally, and potentially more arrests to come.

"We do what we do and we do it for the safety of our community," Tyreece Miller with the U.S. Marshals Service said.

"It speaks to the work these guys and gals do everyday," Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis added.

RELATED: New information on suspects in Young Dolph’s murder; third man faces accessory charge

Federal and local law enforcement revealed new details Wednesday on the nearly two-month long investigation and the relentless search for the men accused of shooting and killing Memphis rapper Young Dolph: Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith.

Credit: WATN
Cornelius Smith & Justin Johnson

"From day one there were leads and these investigators have been on the trail," Chief Davis said.

U.S. Marshals took Johnson into custody Tuesday near Terre Haute, Indiana, several days after authorities announced a warrant and reward for his arrest.

RELATED: Justin Johnson, suspect in Young Dolph's murder, captured in Indiana

Johnson waived extradition Wednesday morning and U.S. Marshals said he'll soon be transferred back to Memphis.

"He will go before a judge in this building, before a federal magistrate, and have an initial appearance," Miller added.

Credit: U.S. Marshals Service
Justin Johnson

RELATED: Second suspect indicted in murder of Memphis rapper Young Dolph

Tuesday, we learned about Smith, a second suspected also indicted in Dolph's murder and who was already being held in DeSoto County, Mississippi, on a separate charge.

Authorities said they're confident Johnson and Smith are the men in a surveillance video, taken moments before Young Dolph was shot November 17th.

"We can't say 100%, but we have enough information to push this particular case to the point that it is now and pursue this in a court of law. There was enough evidence, enough material evidence, enough support in witnesses to be able to get this case to this point," Chief Davis said.

Chief Davis told the public the Young Dolph shooting case is ongoing and still very active.

"We continue to conduct this investigation. There's no telling where it could potentially lead. There are other individuals who could be implicated in this particular homicide," Chief Davis said.

Authorities said they're not ready to announce a possible motive in Young Dolph's shooting death. 

RELATED: Young Dolph slaying suspects have criminal history, district attorney says

Before You Leave, Check This Out