Man charged with shooting rapper Lil Tjay, his friend during robbery attempt in N.J., officials say

A man was arrested Wednesday after he shot rapper Lil Tjay and one of his friends during an attempted robbery near a shopping plaza in Edgewater, authorities said.

Shortly after midnight, the Edgewater Police Department received several calls to 911 reporting the shooting in the arena area, 14 The Promenade, and when officers arrived they found 21-year-old Tyon “Lil Jay” Merritt with multiple gunshot wounds and his friend, Antoine Boyd, aged The 22-year-old, a Bronx resident, was shot by one, according to a statement from the Bergen County District Attorney’s Office.

A third man, identified Wednesday night as Jeffrey Valdez, 24, of the Bronx, was with Lil’ Tjay and Boyd, but was not shot.

An investigation revealed that Mohamed Konate, 27, of New York tried to rob the men and shot Lil Tjay and Valdez, the office said. It was not clear exactly where the men were shot, but investigators previously said a man was found near a gas station less than half a mile away, and another man was found in the same square.

It wasn’t clear how severe Lil’ Jay’s injuries were, but TMZ reported that he was undergoing emergency surgery after the shooting. The office has not commented on the severity of his injuries or those of Boyd.

Officials said Konate was later arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder, three counts of armed robbery, aggravated assault and weapons-related offences. He was arrested by investigators from the Bergen County District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Police Department, and his extradition to New Jersey was pending Wednesday night.

Valdez and a boy were also found to be in possession of an illegal gun, and both were charged with illegal possession of a Class II gun, the office said. They were taken to Bergen County Jail awaiting their first appearance before the Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.

Lil Tjay rose to prominence in 2018 and has released two studio albums through Columbia Records since then.

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Chris Sheldon can be reached at [email protected].

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