The fatal shooting of a man inside Verret’s Lounge in Central City in late January was committed by his first cousin, according to an indictment issued Thursday and a source close to the family.
A grand jury accused Michael J. Young — a 39-year-old local rapper signed to Kowboii Records under the name of Mike Dough — of gunning down Gregory Young late on Jan. 31 inside the bar in the 1700 block of Washington Avenue.
The source close to the family said the victim and the alleged killer were first cousins and were friends growing up.
Gregory Young, a 42-year-old father of three, had just gotten off the phone after wishing his mother a happy birthday when he was shot in the head, a relative said.
According to the initial police account, an “unknown male passed him up, and then two shots rang out” inside the bar. Gregory Young died four days later, according to Dr. Jeffrey Rouse, the Orleans Parish coroner.
The victim, a 3rd Ward native who worked at Riverside Lumber, had an 18-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son.
Troy Keller, who owns Kowboii Records, said Michael Young signed to the label weeks before the fatal shooting. He emphasized that he had no knowledge of the incident but expressed his disappointment over the situation.
Young’s arrest came days after he created a buzz at the annual South by Southwest music and film festival in Austin, Texas, according to Keller. With a signature cigar dangling from his mouth and a new track called “Money on My Mind,” Keller said, “Mike Dough” cut a memorable figure at the festival.
“We were in heaven,” Keller said. “It’s a shame because the guy’s really talented, and we were getting ready to drop his record.”
Michael Young also just became a father, Keller said.
The indictment also accuses Young, who has a lengthy criminal history in New Orleans and Texas, of two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and aggravated battery by shooting.
One of the gun possession counts relates to Gregory Young’s killing. The two other charges are in connection with a crime that took place Jan. 30, a day before the slaying. The victim of the alleged aggravated battery was a different man, court records show.
Michael Young also faces a count of obstruction of justice by “tampering and/or removing evidence” related to the killing.
Court records show that Michael Young was booked in March on an aggravated assault count from the Jan. 30 incident, which took place about 3:25 a.m. in the 500 block of Austerlitz Street. That address is close to the offices of Kowboii Records.
An arrest log listed Young’s home address in Metairie.
He also was booked in late March on an out-of-state warrant, though the nature of that allegation was unclear Thursday.
Orleans Parish court records show Michael Young’s criminal history dates back to the 1990s.
He was sentenced to a 30-month jail term in 2010 after pleading guilty to a second-degree battery count as a multiple offender. In early 2005, records show, he was booked on five counts of battery of a police officer and pleaded guilty as charged, receiving a six-month sentence.
He has drug convictions dating to 2004 and a simple burglary arrest from 1995 and a guilty plea for illegal possession of stolen things in 1997 that came with a five-year prison sentence.
According to the indictment, his record also includes a firearms possession charge from Jefferson County in Texas.
Michael Young was being held without bail in New Orleans on the Texas warrant prior to Thursday’s indictment.
Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.