HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — New video from Rolling Stone shows the moments leading up to the deadly 2018 shooting inside a Huntersville Walmart, involving Rapper DaBaby.
Authorities said 19-year-old Jaylin Craig was shot and killed during a fight inside the store in November 2018.
The Charlotte rapper, whose real name is Jonathan Kirk, told detectives that before the shooting, he was shopping with his family when he noticed two people staring at him, in what he believed was a threatening way.
The new Walmart surveillance footage reviewed by Rolling Stone shows a fight inside the store between several people.
“They’re staring at me like they recognize me; like they was about to come pull a gun out,” Kirk told detectives, adding that he assumed the teens were looking to cause trouble. “What I’m hearing from it, they see me with my girl and my kids and [think], ‘This is a perfect opportunity to do something to him.’ … They’re trying to get me to provoke them so they could pull a gun out.”
Craig was with his friend Henry Douglas at the time. Douglas told investigators that they thought they spotted someone who looked like rapper DaBaby and took several glances to see if it was really him.
Douglas told police that Kirk initiated the conversation and seemed intent on creating an issue. He said Kirk wanted to go outside to the parking lot to fight, and when they were planning to leave, Kirk launched at Douglas.
In the surveillance video, Kirk can be seen hitting Douglas in the head and nearly tackling him to the ground. Kirk and Douglas then start fighting, while Craig was seen standing nearby.
“Craig reaches into the front of his waistband to pull out what appears to be a firearm,” according to a death-investigation report prepared by Mecklenburg County Assistant District Attorney William Bunting.
The report then said Craig attempted to pull them off from one another, when Kirk’s partner at the time interjected herself in the fight and tried to separate Kirk and Douglas.
Rolling Stone reviewed additional footage that was not published. According to Rolling Stone, Kirk’s partner pushed Craig back and Kirk was able to break free one his hands. He then pulled out a gun and shot Craig in his side. Craig collapsed at the other end of the aisle.
DaBaby’s lawyers, Drew Findling and Marissa Goldberg, told TMZ prosecutors reviewed the video in 2018 and determined the rapper acted in self-defense.
“Witnesses were interviewed and corroborated Mr. Kirk’s statement. The entirety of the surveillance video was viewed and determined to corroborate Mr. Kirk’s statement,” the lawyers told TMZ in part. “Mr. Kirk was protecting himself and his family at the time of the shooting.”
Channel 9 has reached out to DaBaby’s lawyers for a full statement on the situation.
For Craig’s family, the video raises some new questions surrounding the incident.
“I feel like they just swept it up under the rug,” Craig’s mother, LaWanda Horsley, told Rolling Stone of the investigation into her son’s death. “[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 family told Rolling Stone that the fight only started when Kirk became annoyed that people recognized him and allegedly demanded they take things outside for a fight.
“I don’t look at him as no DaBaby,” Horsley says. “I look at him like, ‘You’re Jonathan Kirk and you murdered Jaylin Craig.’”
Kirk was charged with carrying a concealed gun in the case, and he was sentenced to 30 days in the Mecklenburg County Jail. The district attorney’s office said “that sentence was suspended pending his successful completion of 12 months of unsupervised probation.”
Kirk did not face any additional charges in the case.
Statement from the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office:
“In June 2019, Mr. Kirk was tried for misdemeanor carrying a concealed gun (in connection with the death of Jaylin Craig) in Mecklenburg County District Court before a judge. The judge found him guilty of that offense. He was sentenced to 30 days in the Mecklenburg County Jail; that sentence was suspended pending his successful completion of 12 months of unsupervised probation. The District Attorney’s Office reviewed the police investigative file and agreed with the Huntersville Police Department’s decision not to charge Mr. Kirk further as prosecutors could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.”
Horsley -- who still lives in Charlotte -- and other family members believe Craig’s killing was unjustified. She told Rolling Stone that DaBaby destroyed their family, and that it took all these years before anyone came to them asking for their side of the story.
“We never hid from nobody,” she said. “We never [heard] from nobody. Y’all knew our names from a news clip. But nobody ever asked us what was Jaylin like. Nobody.”
Craig’s family are also sickened to watch Kirk seemingly launch a career off the back of their son’s death, Rolling Stone reports.
“This is stressing me out right now because every time you turn on the radio, you hear him,” Craig’s father, Curtis, said. “You can’t even listen to the radio. I think about my son constantly.”
Rapper DaBaby has been involved in altercations and violence multiple times. In April 2022, he was at his home in Troutman when a person was shot on his property.
Police have not confirmed who shot the person, but DaBaby posted on his Instagram, seeming to claim responsibility for the shooting.
(WATCH BELOW: Rapper DaBaby addresses Troutman property shooting on social media)
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