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Third Suspect Charged in Young Dolph’s Murder

A third man is now facing charges in connection with rapper Young Dolph’s senseless slaying at a Tennessee bakery eight weeks ago, officials revealed Wednesday.

Shundale Barnett, 27, has been charged with being an after-the-fact accessory to first-degree murder, U.S. Marshal Tyreece Miller said at a press conference in Memphis.

According to Miller, Barnett was a passenger in the vehicle that was stopped at a truck stop just outside Terre Haute, Indiana, Tuesday afternoon amid a national manhunt for Justin Johnson, 23, the Memphis man identified last week as being a fugitive wanted on a first-degree murder warrant in the Young Dolph case. Johnson was behind the wheel and was taken into custody without a fight, Miller said.

“Shundale Barnett is a person who, we believe, was providing assistance to Justin since we’ve been looking for him,” Miller said, adding that Barnett was being held on a state warrant in Indiana on Wednesday and was due to face an extradition effort by prosecutors in Shelby County, Tennessee.

Young Dolph, 36, was gunned down Nov. 17 while buying butter cookies at a bakery near Memphis International Airport. The revered rapper had been doing charity work in his beloved hometown that included giving away Thanksgiving turkeys at a church.

Johnson, 23, was arrested Tuesday by U.S. Marshals after an offer of a $15,000 reward generated more than 500 tips in the case, including one on Tuesday that said Johnson was traveling on Highway 42 in Indiana, Miller said.

News of Johnson’s capture surfaced just as prosecutors in Shelby County publicly identified Cornelius Smith, 32, as the second alleged gunman sought in the daylight ambush at Makeda’s Homemade Cookies that led to Young Dolph’s death.

From Left: Cornelius Smith, Justin Johnson and Shundale Barnett

From Left: Cornelius Smith, Justin Johnson and Shundale Barnett

Shelby County Sheriff's Office; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Clay County Sheriff's Office

Johnson and Smith were indicted Tuesday on charges they murdered Young Dolph with premeditation and also attempted to kill the rapper’s brother, Marcus Thornton, during the bakery attack, according to a copy of the indictment obtained by Fox13 Memphis.

The grand jury further indicted both suspects on counts of being convicted felons in possession of firearms, use of firearms in a dangerous felony and theft of the 2014 white Mercedes-Benz used as the getaway car.

Smith was first arrested Dec. 9 in Southaven, Tennessee, on an auto-theft warrant involving the Mercedes-Benz, which prosecutors say was stolen Nov. 10 during a carjacking at a gas station. A tipster allegedly helped police find the vehicle stashed behind a residence in Orange Mound on Nov. 20, officials said. Previously in custody at the DeSoto County Jail in Hernando, Smith was moved Tuesday to the Shelby County Jail to face the indictment.

Officials confirmed Tuesday that it was Johnson who announced on social media over the weekend that he planned to turn himself in to Memphis Police on Monday. The aspiring rapper, known as Straight Drop, never appeared Monday and instead was on the run.

Young Dolph’s aunt, Rita Myers, told Rolling Stone Jan. 5 that the family was still reeling from her nephew’s senseless slaying. “Our family has suffered a tremendous loss, because he was the glue that held our family together,” Myers said of her nephew. “I’m still crying, day and night.”

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