Rapper Lil Tjay Busted On Gun Charges From Night He Was Shot At Edgewater Restaurant

Rapper Lil Tjay, who was shot and critically wounded outside an Edgewater restaurant last summer, was arrested on gun charges stemming from that incident after returning this week from a world tour.

Bronx rapper Lil Tjay (Tione Jayden Merritt)
Bronx rapper Lil Tjay (Tione Jayden Merritt) Photo Credit: MUGSHOT (5/5/2023)

The 22-year-old Bronx rapper, born Tione Jayden Merritt, had three handguns hidden in his car when he and a companion were shot during what authorities said was a botched robbery on June 22, 2023.

The weapons were stashed in a secret compartment that detectives uncovered during a court-approved search of the vehicle, according to an affidavit filed in Superior Court in Hackensack.

An arrest warrant was subsequently issued on April 14, records show.

Merritt was on a world tour, however, which took him to locations that include London, Paris, Milan, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Zurich, Tel Aviv, Dubai and, as recently as this week, Cabo San Lucas.

“I got shot right before I got on the plane,” the rapper told the audience in Paris last month. 

Merritt, who lives in the University Heights section of the Bronx, surrendered to prosecutor's detectives early Friday, May 5. 

They charged him with three counts of illegal weapons possession and sent him to the Bergen County Jail to be booked (see mugshot above).

A Superior Court judge in Hackensack released him with conditions early Friday evening under New Jersey's bail reform law, records show.

It was Merritt's third gun arrest this year.

He reportedly was busted in the Bronx on Jan. 23 and subsequently released -- less than two weeks after city police charged him with weapons possession as he headed to an Ice Spice video shoot.

Supporters say Lil Tjay needs the protection.

Merritt had undergone emergency surgery after he was shot outside the Chipotle restaurant in the Shops at City Place on River Road in Edgewater, a short drive south of the George Washington Bridge, last summer.

A medical chopper airlifted him to Hackensack University Medical Center. He'd been shot seven times, including once each in the neck and the arm, law enforcement sources told Daily Voice.

A companion, Antoine Boyd, 22, also of the Bronx took a bullet in the back. He drove to an Exxon station about a mile up River Road before police found him.

Boyd was hospitalized but recovered quickly. Prosecutor's detectives charged him and another Bronx member of the entourage, Jeffrey Valdez, 24, with illegal gun possession.

The accused shooter, Mohamed Konate, 28, was arrested in New York City the same night.

Konate was extradited to New Jersey on July 20 and has remained held in the Bergen County Jail ever since, charged with multiple counts of attempted murder, as well as armed robbery and weapons offenses.

SEE: Arrests Made In Shooting Of Rapper 'Lil TJay' During Edgewater Robbery

Merritt, a melodic rapper who frequently uses Auto-Tune, takes his stage name from the first letter of his first name and first three letters of his middle name.

He once told an interviewer he's called the "Bronx Justin Bieber" because of his sampling of Bieber's "Baby."

Lil Tjay first became known as a "hip-hop heartthrob" in 2019 with the song "Resume," which got him a deal with Columbia Records. A debut studio album, "True 2 Myself," was released in 2019 and peaked at No. 5 on the US Billboard 200.

Merritt previously had been arrested along with Boyd after New York City police said they found them and three other men with four loaded pistols in a Cadillac SUV stopped in Brooklyn in January 2021.

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