MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Justin Johnson, the 23-year-old man wanted in rapper Young Dolph’s murder, has a list of past criminal charges going back to a shooting at a bowling alley in 2017, according to police reports and court records.

Justin Johnson

The U.S. Marshals Service on Wednesday identified Johnson as a suspect in the killing of 36-year-old Adolph Thornton Jr., better known as Young Dolph.  

Police have issued a warrant for Johnson for first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and theft of property. He also has a warrant for violation of federal supervised release. A $15,000 reward is being offered in Johnson’s capture.

Some sources have reported that Johnson is a Memphis rapper who goes by the name “Straight Drop.” When we asked a law enforcement source for confirmation, they directed us to Straight Droppp’s Instagram page.

Many fans are also making that connection, noticing where Straight Droppp shot a video outside of an abandoned home they believe is the same spot where a white Mercedes matching the description as the getaway car in Young Dolph’s death was discovered. 

That video was posted online following Young Dolph’s death.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said that Johnson was sentenced in the Western District of Tennessee and served time in prison from March 11, 2019 until he was released from a Louisiana facility on May 25, 2021 for good conduct.  

Court records show that in January 2017, an 18-year-old Johnson was involved in a shooting that injured three people at Billy Hardwick’s All-Star Lanes in East Memphis. Police said a fight broke out at the bowling alley just before midnight, and Johnson grabbed an assault rifle from outside and fired into a crowd, hitting three people before escaping with his girlfriend.

A month later, police said they found Johnson in a house in Parkway Village with marijuana, an assault rifle and active warrants for the January shooting. A police report listed Johnson as a gang member.

In May of 2017, Johnson pleaded guilty to several charges of aggravated assault, according to court records.

In May 2018, police said the 20-year-old Johnson drove a Dodge Charger into a gated apartment complex near the Memphis airport and refused to leave. Police say they found a loaded gun and marijuana in the car.

Johnson faced drug and weapons charges in that case, but Shelby County court records show the charges were dropped.

An innocent bystander who was injured in the shooting at the bowling alley in 2017 said Thursday that he’s shocked Johnson is free. The man, who we aren’t naming, wasn’t seriously hurt, but his friend was and he thinks Johnson should be held accountable.  

“We were just sitting at the counter just watching,” he recalled. “It took a long time for me to want to go out and do anything for awhile after that.”

If you have any information about Johnson’s whereabouts, you are urged to call U.S. Marshals at (901)-275-4562, (901)-601-1575, or (731)-571-0280.

You can also submit a tip at https://www.usmarshals.gov/