Rest in peace, Jalyn Craig.
Gun violence is senseless and causes a lot of pain to all involved. Unfortunately, back in 2018, a teenager in North Carolina lost his life thanks to gun violence in a Wal-Mart store. And what's more, his shooting was something that didn't need to happen in the first place.
What's perhaps the most shocking of all is that popular rapper DaBaby — whose star was just beginning to rise at the time — was, in a way, allegedly involved in the shooting.
So, who was Jalyn Craig, what happened in his shooting, and what did DaBaby have to do with it all?
Let's take a close look at what we know about this awful situation.
1. Who was Jalyn Craig? He was a North Carolina-based teenager with a bright future ahead of him.
Craig graduated from West Charlotte High School a little over a year before he was killed. He had a full-time job at the Rock Hill dye maker plant, as well. Family and friends noted that Craig was "one of the best role models" who was always there for friends and family, especially in their time of need.
2. He was killed on November 5, 2018.
On November 5, 2018, Craig was in the Walmart on Bryton Town Center Drive in Huntersville, NC, when he encountered DaBaby (real name: Jonathan Kirk). DaBaby was in the store with his child's mother, MeMe, and their two children. While it's unclear as to what, precisely, happened next, DaBaby claimed that Craig "pulled out a gun" and threatened his family. In response, the two got into a dight, during which DaBaby shot Craig, killing him.
3. DaBaby defended his actions.
Two days after the shooting, DaBaby took to his Snapchat — which was recorded by a fan and uploaded to YouTube — and, in a profanity-laced tirade, said that he was merely defending himself and his family against Craig's attempt to attack. Based on the comment section of the YouTube video, DaBaby's fans think he was justified in his actions.
4. DaBaby pleaded for carrying a concealed firearm.
Despite firing the shots that killed Craig, DaBaby ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed firearm. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but the jail sentence was suspended. He was also sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation.
5. Other charges against DaBaby were dismissed — and no murder charges were ever filed.
The prosecutors in the Craig case ran into a series of problems in their case against DaBaby. Ultimately, because key witnesses in the case failed to be located — or, perhaps, refused to testify — the case against DaBaby was dismissed. The prosecutor tried to ask for a continuance in the case, but the judge denied the motion. As a result, as of March 2019, the charges were dismissed, and no additional charges were brought against DaBaby.
6. Craig's family feels that their son was denied justice.
"We feel like we didn’t get any justice. To have the guy look at us in court with a smirk, like he won that battle,” said Craig's mom, Lawana Horsley. "No one could say anything bad about Jaylin. He just had the coolest demeanor, with the million-dollar smile. He didn’t smoke or anything because he didn’t want to mess up those teeth, he had a perfect set of teeth. We’re not going to stop fighting. We’re not going to stop fighting.”
Our thoughts are with the Craig family during what has been, undoubtedly, a difficult time.
Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, publicist, and photographer whose work has appeared in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, BET.com, and more.