Prosecutors have dropped all charges against Memphis rapper Blac Youngsta in connection with a shootout in uptown Charlotte during the 2017 CIAA men’s and women’s college basketball tournament, court documents show.
Police said about 100 shots were fired indiscriminately at homes and cars in the 600 block of North Caldwell Street, about 30 minutes before the last game of the tournament at the nearby Spectrum Center, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time. No one was hurt.
Blac Youngsta, whose given name is Sammie Marquez Benson, was charged with five counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling/moving vehicle and one count of conspiracy to commit discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling.
National websites reported that fellow Memphis rapper Young Dolph was among the targets, the Observer reported. Young Dolph was in town for an unofficial CIAA party/concert at the Cameo Charlotte nightclub.
In response to the allegations, Blac Youngsta released a mix tape several months later titled “I’m Innocent.” He also went on a 15-city “I’m Innocent” tour that did not include Charlotte.
Young Dolph also made a mix tape that year. The tape’s first three titles: “100 Shots,” “In Charlotte” and “But I’m Bulletproof,” the Observer reported at the time.
The only evidence tying Benson to the shootout was his rental car, which Blac Youngsta reported stolen the same day, Mecklenburg County prosecutor Kristen McNeal wrote in a dismissal form she filed in Mecklenburg County Superior Court on Friday.
Benson provided sworn affidavits “from multiple individuals” that he was in Durham at the time of the offense, according to a copy of the dismissal form obtained by The Charlotte Observer. Durham is about 145 miles northeast of Charlotte via Interstate 85.
Benson reported the vehicle stolen the same day to his insurance company, McNeal said in the document.
While the rapper’s cell phone and identification card were found in the car, “there is no evidence that the defendant was driving the vehicle during the offense or even an occupant of the vehicle during the time of the offense,” McNeal wrote.
“Furthermore,” according to the prosecutor, “the defendant did not confess, he was not identified by any witness, and there is no scientific evidence linking him to the offense.”
On Monday, Benson’s lawyer, Arthur Horne III of Memphis, posted on Facebook a copy of a message he texted to the rapper.
“All of your charges in Charlotte have been DISMISSED,” Horne texted. “It’s time TO celebrate a victory....We take care of family and we are family. It’s no coincidence that right when you dropped your new single, your cases were DISMISSED.
“Look at God working,” Horne continued. “Now it’s time to move forward, make this money, get these hits, build your legacy and make history FOR GOD’S GLORY. Now take your ass out there and give your fans at Rolling Loud a show.”
Blac Youngsta on Monday tweeted his lawyer’s text message, followed by the words, “I’M INNOCENT,” and an emoji of two hands together in prayer.