BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Homicide investigators say they still have not identified a shooter involved in a fatal firefight in Florida in which rapper Kentrell Gaulden was a possible target, and a recent visit to Louisiana to speak with Gaulden was no help.
A Miami-Dade Police Department spokesman fired back at claims made to the Miami Herald by Gaulden’s attorney that a “mis-communication” didn’t leave him enough time to persuade Gaulden to speak with investigators.
The spokesman said investigators called Gaulden’s attorney, James Manasseh, the morning before the interview and said they’d hoped to interview Gaulden that same afternoon. According to the spokesman, Manasseh never mentioned not having enough time to speak with Gaulden or needing to reschedule. The spokesman also said Manasseh and his partner, who ended up filling in for Manasseh because of a “sudden medical emergency,” had several hours to speak to Gaulden between the initial call to set up the interview and the time the interview was scheduled for.
Manasseh told the Miami Herald “[Gaulden is] willing to cooperate, but he’s scared. He’s a victim in this whole thing.”
Around 1:41 p.m. Sunday, May 12, Gaulden and his associates were exiting the Trump International Beach Resort in Florida when a shooter in a black Cadillac Escalade drove up and opened fire. Gaulden’s entourage returned fire on the vehicle.
Gaulden was not shot, however his girlfriend Kaylyn Long, 19, was injured and hospitalized.
After realizing Long was injured, Gaulden loaded her into a vehicle and attempted to bring her to the hospital. However, the vehicle’s tire was flat, a source close to Gaulden told WAFB.
As Gaulden waited for a second vehicle to arrive to transport Long, police intervened. Gaulden and his entourage claimed self defense, left the scene, performed at the Rolling Loud Music Festival later that evening, then went off the radar.
A five-year-old boy had also been grazed by a bullet during the shootout. He was treated and released at the scene.
Mohamad Jradi, 43, was killed in the crossfire when a bullet traveled into his car across the street and entered his head.
Witnesses told CNN the shooting began when two groups of rival rappers started arguing outside of the resort. Investigators were hoping information provided by Gaulden would help identify the shooter. That shooter could still face charges.
It is unclear if the homicide detectives have any further plans to speak with Gaulden.
Gaulden sits in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison after appearing in state District Judge Bonnie Jackson’s courtroom Friday, May 17. At that hearing prosecutors requested to have his probation revoked in a 2016 shooting case authorities believe was in retaliation for the death of another teenage rapper earlier that year.
Gaulden was sentenced to three years of probation with a suspended 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated assault with a firearm. One of the conditions of his probation was that he remain free of additional arrests and convictions.
On Feb. 11, 2019, Gaulden was arrested in Atlanta after an incident at the Hyatt House in which Gaulden allegedly directed a woman to keep housekeeping staff out of the room. The woman, Starr Thigpen, reportedly assaulted one of the staff members, striking her in the face.
Judge Jackson ruled to put his probation on hold while the district attorney’s office investigates a social media video allegedly showing Gaulden making violent threats.
Gaulden will remain in jail until his next court hearing on June 21.