DaBaby was on the verge of superstardom when he was cleared in the November 2018 murder of Jaylin Craig. The KIRK rapper claimed he shot the 19-year-old North Carolina native in self-defense after a chance encounter at a Charlotte-area Walmart. The Interscope Records artist explained at the time Craig and another teen had approached him, his then-girlfriend Mariah Osborne and two children and drew his gun, forcing him to draw his and fire.
But in newly obtained video by Rolling Stone, DaBaby’s self-defense claim appears to be called into question. In the clip, DaBaby reportedly throws the first punch at Craig’s friend Henry Douglas and splits his forehead open, which later requires stitches. Craig’s mother, LaWanda Horsley, was shocked DaBaby was able to skirt the more serious charge of murder and wind up with probation for carrying a concealed weapon.
“I feel like they just swept it up under the rug,” Horsley said 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.”
Rolling Stone releases security footage of DaBaby killing a man in Walmart in 2018. pic.twitter.com/skv8F1hABs
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After DaBaby was vindicated, he seemingly bragged about the killing numerous times in music, causing further pain for the Craig family. Just four days after Craig’s death, DaBaby droped a video for “No Tears,” using local news footage of the incident for the intro with the lyrics, “And any n-gga, touch me, catch a body like Boosie. Try me, I’m shootin’. No back and forth, just up it, I’m blowin’.”
Then in the 2020 hit “Rockstar,” he raps about his one-year-old daughter witnessing the murder with, “My daughter a G, she saw me kill a n-gga in front of her before the age of two.” He also addressed the shooting in an Instagram Live video shortly after it happened, saying, “Daughter could have got hit, son could have got hit [and] me. 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.”
Walmart surveillance footage reviewed by Rolling Stone shows Craig and Douglas rolling through the entrance of the store around 6:30 p.m. local time, laughing. Craig thought he saw DaBaby in the store but was thrown off by his subdued clothing and the fact he was shopping for baby clothes in a Walmart. Douglas cops to walking by DaBaby a few times to make sure it was him, and that’s when DaBaby started to get annoyed.
“That’s what eventually started it; when he took it the wrong way,” Douglas says. “We were trying to see who you are, and he took it as somebody is looking at him with a problem.” DaBaby supposedly then says, “Do you know me?” to which Douglas said, “Oh, I thought that was you” before walking away. But DaBaby demands a fight instead and challenges them to go outside.
As Douglas turns to leave, DaBaby is seen on surveillance footage “unexpectedly launching into Douglas, striking him in the head and nearly tackling him to the ground.”
Craig moves toward the two men and “puts his left hand between the fighting pair, as if to pull them off one another” before DaBaby is able to break free one of his hands and pull out a concealed .40-caliber Glock from his waistband to shoot Craig one time in the side at close range. Leaving a trail of blood as he stumbles away, Craig collapses to the floor at the other end of the aisle.
While Douglas says he never saw Craig draw a weapon, DaBaby told police they saw Craig pull a gun out he was fighting with Douglas. He also said he heard DaBaby’s girlfriend yelling, “He got a gun, he got a gun.” Because there were multiple witnesses who said they saw Craig with a gun, prosecutors couldn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt DaBaby didn’t act in self-defense.
Horsley, Curtis and the rest of their family want DaBaby to pay for Craig’s death. They are publicly sharing their story in hopes it will lead to a homicide charge.
Curtis adds, “In my eyes, I feel like [Jaylin] was murdered. And [Kirk] got away with it. Everything he [does] is pretty much the same thing. He’s assaulting people, he’s getting away with it. Every case that you look at, they’re dismissing it. Why is he getting off?”