The two men who police believe are responsible for Young Dolph’s murder are reportedly in custody. According to a tweet from FOX13 Memphis reporter Jeremy Pierre, who’s been covering the case since the fatal November 2021 shooting, 23-year-old Justin Johnson and Cornelius Smith have been apprehended by law enforcement.
Pierre’s tweet read simply, “Breaking: Both Young Dolph accused gunmen are in custody. Justin ‘Straight Drop’ Johnson and Cornelius Smith (the gunman wearing the Bass Pro Hat).”
Johnson was captured by U.S. Marshals in Indiana on Tuesday (January 11), while Smith was also arrested and booked into Shelby County Jail, charged with first-degree murder. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals and the Memphis Police Department had been on a nationwide manhunt for Johnson for less than a week.
Both Young Dolph accused gunmen are in custody.
Justin “Straight Drop” Johnson and Cornelius Smith (the gunman wearing the Bass Pro Hat.) pic.twitter.com/HVdxWQE1X2
— Jeremy Pierre FOX13 (@JeremypierreFOX) January 11, 2022
Johnson faces charges of first-degree murder and theft of property between $10,000 and $60,000. Prior to the Young Dolph murder, Johnson was arrested for a triple shooting at Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes bowling alley in 2017. Johnson’s five-year sentence for that shooting ended after mere five months when a judge signed off on his release.
“It’s called the Department of Corrections not the Department of Punishment,” Judge Chris Craft of Shelby County Criminal Court said at the time. He then approved the motion to suspend Johnson’s five-year prison sentence.
Nearly two months after Young Dolph’s murder and two days after Johnson was identified, the aspiring rapper hopped on Instagram to proclaim his innocence. He also vowed to turn himself in on Monday (January 10) but failed to materialize. A $15,000 reward was offered for any information leading to an arrest. It’s unclear if law enforcement received any tips to help track Johnson down.
Young Dolph was shot and killed on November 17, 2021 as he was picking up cookies at Makeda’s. Video footage of the suspected killers was eventually released to the public, which showed the man wearing the aforementioned Bass Pro Hat. Check it out below.
Pics of the suspects from the young dolph shooting. Hopefully they find them pic.twitter.com/yxvzk22ScY
— Austin Goff (@TheGoffFather) November 18, 2021