Police this week were focused intently on a public beef between rival rap camps in their investigation of the critical shooting of Memphis hip-hop performer Young Dolph in Hollywood.
Cory Palka, captain of the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood division, said it wasn't clear if Dolph's Memphis foe Yo Gotti (aka Mario Mims) was a person of interest, as has been reported elsewhere. But he did say detectives were focused on “ongoing conflict” between the camps of Dolph and Gotti.
Additionally, security imagery from the location of Tuesday's shooting outside the Loews Hollywood Hotel, near Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, amounted to “really outstanding video” and would help investigators quickly get to the bottom of the attack, Palka said.
“The evidence is strong and will lead to an arrest,” he says. “Detectives have some good leads. This was definitely not a random incident.”
The shooting was reported shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday outside the hotel, LAPD Officer Irma Mota said. Three men began to argue with Dolph, whose real name is Adolph Thornton, and a physical assault of the performer ensued, she said. He ended up on the ground, at which point he was shot “several times” by one of the three attackers, Mota said.
One of the three alleged assailants got into a gold Cadillac Escalade SUV, which was driven to a nearby gas station, she said, and that suspect ran from there. One suspect was detained at the scene and arrested. He was identified today by police as 43-year-old Corey McClendon of Memphis. He was arrested at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and was being held in lieu of $1 million bail, according to sheriff's inmate records. “That's not the prime suspect,” Palka says of McClendon.
Police believe Gotti's entourage was registered at the Loews Hotel. It wasn't clear if McClendon was part of that group, but reports have claimed he's a “known associate” of Gotti. Thornton reportedly was in town to perform tonight at a South L.A. venue called the Marke. Last night, he was at a hospital in critical condition, police said.
“They were at the Loews for a reason,” Palka says of the Gotti-affiliated crew. “There's a trail of evidence that isolates this to these camps. It's all related to their camps.”
The captain, however, emphasized that similar rap beefs haven't always had the blessing of the artists at the center of the rivalries.
“They're both Memphis artists with security teams,” he says. “There's ongoing conflict. It's more related to groups associated with the camps. It's rarely the artist behind the pistol.”
The elite Robbery Homicide-Division has taken over the case, Palka said. He believes possible charges will quickly follow any further arrests.
Earlier this year Thornton, who survived a 100-round shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina, revealed a 10-track release titled “Bullet Proof.”