A judge set a new $1.8 million-plus bond Tuesday for Baton Rouge rapper Lit Yoshi — accused in a string of shootings that began in April 2019 and culminated with a July 4 incident that left two adults and two children injured — after a law enforcement officer described him as a gang's "top enforcer."

The rapper's given name is Mieyoshi Tyree Edwards. He is 21.

"I am sick of what's going on in this community," state District Judge Tarvald Smith said after hearing what he called "very, very disturbing" testimony from Zac Woodring, a Baton Rouge police detective and ATF task force officer, and Lt. Scott Henning, an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's homicide supervisor. With Edwards' family present, Smith told Edwards his relatives might soon be at his funeral if he didn't change his behavior.

Woodring testified at Edwards' bond hearing that the rapper is a member of the TBG, or Top Boy Gorilla, gang that has been feuding with the rival NBA (Never Broke Again) and BBG (Bottom Boy Gorilla) gangs.

"He runs with the group. They do shootings together," Woodring said as Edwards sat across the courtroom in an orange prison jumpsuit.

Woodring said the "very public online beef" between the gangs is "showing no signs of letting up."

Edwards has been formally charged in an April 2019 shooting on Highland Road at the AM Mart, which was a popular spot for the BBG and NBA gangs, an affidavit states. Edwards was allegedly one of the occupants of an SUV who fired at several members of those gangs at the store. He is charged with illegally discharging a firearm from a vehicle.

Edwards also was arrested this month in an April 6, 2020, shooting in the parking lot of the La Playa Apartment Complex on Hanks Drive, and the July 4 shooting near the Mallard Crossing Apartment Complex on Greenwell Springs Road that sent four people inside a car, including two young children, to the hospital.

Henning testified Tuesday that a man injured in the April 6 shooting is a well-known NBA gang member. The victims' vehicle in the July 4 shooting was very, very similar to a car used by a high-ranking NBA member, he added.

Henning characterized Edwards as TBG's "top enforcer."

"He's either calling the shots on who is being targeted or he does the shootings," he said.

Edwards was arrested this month after East Baton Rouge sheriff's detectives traced the rented cars used in the April 6 and July 4 shootings to his live-in girlfriend, authorities have said.

Two days after the July shooting, Edwards was found driving the Ford F-150 used in that shooting, and one of two firearms discovered in the truck was matched to ballistics found at the crime scene, an arrest report says.

Detectives also used rental car information and video surveillance to connect Edwards to the April 6 shooting, booking documents indicate.

Prosecutor Stuart Theriot told the judge during Tuesday's hearing that Edwards "poses a clear threat to the Baton Rouge community."

Ron Haley, one of Edwards' attorneys, said he believes in his client's innocence.

At the time of the April 6 and July 4 shootings, Edwards was out on a $150,000 bond set last year by state District Judge Beau Higginbotham in the April 2019 Highland Road shooting.

After Edwards' arrest in the two most recent shootings, state District Judge Bonnie Jackson set his bond at $1,160,000. Then, Higginbotham placed a bond hold on him due to his new arrests.

All of the cases are now being handled Judge Tarvald Smith, who set a combined bond of $1,820,000 on Tuesday. That amount included Smith raising the bond set by Jackson to $1,670,000.

Theriot noted that Tuesday marked the first full-blown bond hearing for Edwards.

If Edwards is able to post bond, he intends to live in south Florida, his attorneys said. Smith imposed an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in the event Edwards is able to make bond.

Edwards will be allowed to record music but won't be allowed to make any social media postings, and firearms won't be allowed where he stays.

"Anything close to criminal activity ... the court will consider a violation," Smith warned. "I'm not playing."

The judge acknowledged Edwards' family in the front row of the courtroom and told Edwards that if he doesn't change his behavior, they may instead find themselves seated in the front pew of a church at his funeral.

Edwards also has been formally charged with illegal carrying of a weapon while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance. That incident occurred in February.

He faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder, illegal use of a weapon and aggravated criminal damage to property in the April 6 shooting on Hanks Drive, and four counts of attempted first-degree murder, assault by drive-by shooting, illegal use of a weapon and aggravated criminal damage to property in the July 4 shooting on Greenwell Springs Road.

Prosecutors said they will formally charge him in those shootings soon.   


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.