An up-and-coming rap star from Florida who made headlines late last year after two of his collaborators and close friends were killed in an apparent drive-by shooting has now been charged in their murders—and police say he staged the “drive-by.”
YNW Melly, whose legal name is Jamell Demons, cemented his reputation as the next big thing in the Florida rap scene last August with the song “Murder on My Mind,” and just two months later, the tragic scene of gun violence that opened that song’s music video appeared to be playing out in real life for Melly when two of his close friends were shot dead in South Florida.
“They Took My Brothers From Me Over Jealousy I know y’all watching over me … and after, they wanna see me break down and stop or in jail or a box...” he tweeted at the time.
Police said Anthony Williams, 21, and Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, both suffered multiple gunshot wounds and “were dead already” upon arrival at a Miramar hospital last October. Details on where the men were shot were scarce, but with the back window of the Jeep they were riding in shot out, it was widely believed to have been a drive-by shooting.
Williams and Thomas, who were also rappers under the respective stage names YNW Juvy and YNW Sakchaser, featured in a documentary by Demons titled “Melly” that came out late last year. They received a tribute at the very end: “Four days after the completion of this film, YNW Melly and his friends were the targets of a drive-by shooting in Miami, Florida. YNW Juvy and YNW Sakchaser were killed,” the film noted.
Now, however, Miramar police say Demons was not the target, but the perpetrator.“The investigation, supported by forensic evidence, has concluded that Demons shot and killed Williams & Thomas Jr.,” police said in a statement on Wednesday. Another rapper known as YNW Bortlen, legal name Cortlen Henry, is accused of helping Demons stage the scene. Both face first-degree murder charges.
Demons posted Wednesday on his official YNW Melly’s Instagram account that he was turning himself in.
“I want you guys to know I love you and appreciate every single one of y’all, a couple months ago I lost my two brothers by violence and now the system want to find justice,” he wrote.