Rapper DaBaby’s claim of self-defense when he shot and killed Jaylin Craig in a North Carolina Walmart in 2018 stands in contrast to never-before-seen security footage obtained by Rolling Stone.
The fatal November 2018 incident inside a Huntersville Walmart, DaBaby, whose real name is Jonathan Kirk, has always claimed that he was approached by two young men who threatened him with a gun while he was shopping with his then-partner and their children. Kirk said that he acted in self-defense out of fear for his and his family’s safety. The new footage appears to tell a different story, one of Kirk throwing the first punch.
“I feel like they just swept it up under the rug,” Craig’s mother, LaWanda Horsley, told Rolling Stone of the investigation. “[Kirk] knows what he did. I’m not doing this for no fame or anything, because at the end of the day, Jaylin Craig is gone.”
Craig’s best friend, Henry Douglas, who was at the scene at the time, said that Kirk was annoyed when the teens recognized him and suggested they take it outside. Although Kirk told police that one of the teens first suggested they fight, the security footage shows Kirk sucker-punching Douglas with Craig standing nearby. As Douglas and Kirk are fighting in one of the aisles, Craig approaches in what appears to be an attempt to break up the altercation. The footage jumps to Kirk sliding onto the floor, to pick up a gun, which he then shoots off camera.
The footage can be seen at the top of this page.
Rolling Stone reports that “Officials later determined, based on the security footage, witness testimony, and a weapon found near Craig’s body, that Craig had a gun on him, but it’s inconclusive if Craig was brandishing the gun as he approached the two men.”
“Daughter could have got hit, son could have got hit [and] me,” DaBaby claimed in an Instagram video days after the shooting. “Lawyers … telling me not to say nothing … But two [people] walk down on you and your whole … family, threatening y’all, whip out [a gun] on y’all, let me see what y’all going to do.”
In June 2019, Kirk was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon and sentenced to 12 months’ probation with a suspended jail sentence. He was not prosecuted for Craig’s death.