Two prominent rappers have been named but not charged in a Georgia indictment against a third man who is accused of shooting up hip-hop superstar Lil Wayne’s tour bus outside Atlanta in April, according to a document made public Wednesday.
Prosecutors allege that a man named Jimmy Winfrey carried out Atlanta rapper Jeffrey “Young Thug” Williams’ threats against Lil Wayne, the hugely popular rapper who grew up in Hollygrove. New Orleans native Bryan “Birdman” Williams also was named in the indictment, which was first obtained by Atlanta’s WSB-TV.
No one was injured in the April 26 shooting.
While Young Thug was arrested by U.S. marshals in Atlanta on Wednesday in connection with a separate incident in which he is accused of threatening a mall security guard, neither he nor Birdman has been charged in the April shooting incident.
Winfrey, however, was indicted by a grand jury June 25 on 30 charges related to the tour bus shooting, including conspiracy charges and 12 charges of aggravated assault against Lil Wayne’s entourage.
“At this moment, Jimmy Winfrey is the only person charged,” Cobb County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Kim Isaza said. “It’s too early to say whether other people will be charged.”
If Birdman is charged, it would represent the most serious escalation of a feud between Lil Wayne, legally known as Dwayne Carter Jr., and his former father figure, who founded Cash Money Records in New Orleans in 1991. Birdman’s label fostered popular Crescent City artists like Juvenile, but he found his biggest success with Lil Wayne, who has sold millions of albums and often references his humble Hollygrove beginnings.
Wayne often said Birdman was like a father to him, but since December, the two have been involved in a bitter legal spat over record royalties.
In January, Lil Wayne sued Cash Money Records, a suit since withdrawn over venue issues.
Up-and-coming Atlanta rapper Young Thug also has gotten involved in the mix, siding with Birdman and taunting Lil Wayne on social media.
The indictment lays out a complex chain of events that authorities say led Winfrey to attack Lil Wayne and his entourage.
In an April Instagram video, Young Thug claimed he would roll out his latest mixtape in Lil Wayne’s home neighborhood of Hollygrove — a clear insult.
“Meet me there; beat me there,” Young Thug said to the camera.
That video was a threat, Cobb County prosecutors claim. And days later, they say, Winfrey carried it out.
On the night of April 26, the indictment alleges, Winfrey and other Blood gang members rolled up to a nightclub called the Compound where Lil Wayne was performing.
Atlanta police saw Winfrey arrive in a white 2015 Chevrolet Camaro, the indictment claims, and noticed that he had an assault rifle in the vehicle. But before they could stop him, he fled the scene.
The police escorted Lil Wayne and his entourage but only to the county line. Once the buses entered Cobb County, the Atlanta police turned back.
Winfrey was in pursuit the whole time, the indictment claims, and was in contact “with cellphones connected to” Young Thug.
Once the police peeled off, Winfrey pulled up next to the buses and the shots started flying, the indictment says. Cobb County District Attorney D. Victor Reynolds claimed in the indictment that Winfrey had “carried out” a threat from Young Thug.
No one was hit, but when Lil Wayne’s tour buses returned to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Atlanta, prosecutors said, Winfrey went there, too. Prosecutors claim he had been on the phone with Birdman during his drive to the hotel — implying that Birdman steered him there. No shots were fired at the hotel.
Winfrey was arrested June 2. His bail hearing is scheduled for Friday.
On June 8, Young Thug released a music video for the song “Halftime,” in which he claimed that if he pulled up next to Lil Whodi, an early career nickname for Lil Wayne, he would “pop him in the noggin’.”
Winfrey also appeared in the video — holding an assault rifle.