Before Chicago-based rapper Lil Durk turned himself in Thursday night on charges related to a shooting outside the Varisity, he proclaimed his innocence to Channel 2 Action News.
The 26-year-old, whose given name is Durk Derrick Banks, was charged with criminal attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, participation in a criminal street gang and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon by Atlanta police in connection with the February shooting.
Durk told Channel 2 that he canceled his tour once he found out about the felony warrants and he flew to Atlanta to turn himself in.
“Once I heard, I immediately came back,” he said. “I have nothing to hide. I have nothing to run from.”
Durk was denied bond Friday, according to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. However, his attorney, Manny Arora, told Channel 2 that Durk’s legal team is already in the process of filing a new bond motion.
“He’s got a multi-million dollar salary music career going,” Arora said, while also denying that his client is involved in a street gang.
Just before 6 a.m. Feb. 5, police said gunfire erupted outside The Varsity at the intersection of North Avenue and Spring Street.
The victim, identified as 23-year-old Alexander Weatherspoon, was shot once in the thigh. Investigators believe the altercation started in the parking lot of the Varsity. After Weatherspoon was shot, he ran across the street before collapsing in front of a nearby cigar lounge, according to the report.
The shooting was captured on surveillance cameras from both the Varsity and the cigar bar, according to investigators. Weatherspoon was rushed to Atlanta Medical Center for surgery after the bullet struck his femoral artery, police said in the report.
Investigators discovered 13 shell casings from a pistol and a rifle in the parking lot. A 9mm handgun was also recovered. Witnesses interviewed at the scene told police Weatherspoon appeared to be in a verbal dispute with another man before shots rang out.
While Durk’s name isn’t mentioned in the report, an Atlanta police spokesman confirmed the rapper is charged in connection with the incident. Officials have not discussed the relationship between Weatherspoon and Lil Durk.
Weatherspoon was later arrested in Chicago on April 1, and he’s being held in the Cook County jail without bond, records show. It’s unclear what charges he faces.
On Wednesday, Durk announced to his 4.8 million Instagram followers that he would surrender. Right before he turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail, a new song titled “Turn Myself In” was uploaded to his YouTube channel.
Arora said a 2012 gun charge in Chicago was Durk’s second and most recent arrest until he surrendered Thursday night. Durk told Channel 2 that he had a rough upbringing in Chicago, which drew him into circles with gang members, but he said that isn’t who he is today.
“I had a bad background just growing up as a child,” he said. “(My) father being incarcerated for 25 years, 26 years, so I had a rough past, but me moving to Atlanta, I just thought that changed my whole identity — my thinking.”
The rapper was one of 12 up-and-coming performers featured in XXL magazine’s 2014 “Freshman Class,” which included Chance the Rapper, Rich Homie Quan and Kevin Gates.
He remains in the Fulton County jail.
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