UPDATE: An ex-con from the Bronx shot rapper “Lil TJay” and a companion during a robbery attempt in Edgewater, authorities said.
Mohamed Konate, 27, was being held pending extradition to Bergen County to face charges that include attempted murder, armed robbery and weapons charges, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced Wednesday night.
Konate shot Tione Jayden "Lil Tjay" Merritt, 21, of the Bronx multiple times, leaving him with life-threatening injuries, and wounded Antoine Boyd, 22, also of the Bronx, at the Promenade a short distance south of the George Washington Bridge shortly after midnight Wednesday, Musella said.
Boyd, who survived being shot in the back, himself was charged with illegal gun possession, as was another member of the entourage, Jeffrey Valdez, 24, also of the Bronx, the prosecutor said.
Both were being held in the Bergen County Jail pending first appearances in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.
Merritt was found at the scene of the shooting outside the Chipolte restaurant. He was airlifted to Hackensack University Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery after being shot what law enforcement sources said was seven times.
Boyd made it to an Exxon station about a mile up River Road.
Musella’s Major Crimes Unit detectives investigated with Edgewater police, assisted by the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification, which collected evidence.
The county investigators arrested Konate in New York City, assisted by the NYPD. Charges against him also include aggravated assault and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
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."
He first became known as a "hip-hop heartthrob" in 2019 with the song "Resume," which got Merritt a deal with Columbia Records. The debut studio album, "True 2 Myself," was released in 2019 and peaked at No. 5 on the US Billboard 200.
Merritt also is reportedly tight with fellow rapper A Boogie With Da Hoodie, who was busted along with his manager and a bodyguard by prosecutor's detectives investigating a shooting outside a Teaneck nightclub in 2020.
Merritt himself was arrested -- along with Boyd -- after 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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