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Rapper Gunna, indicted with fellow rapper Young Thug and more than two dozen others for their roles in a violent Atlanta, Georgia, street gang that committed multiple murders, shootings and carjackings for over roughly a decade and promoted its activities in songs and on social media, was in custody Wednesday after surrendering to authorities.
The 28-year-old rapper Gunna, whose legal name is Sergio Giavonni Kitchens, was booked in the Fulton County Jail in the Atlanta area early Wednesday morning.
An indictment filed Monday in Fulton County Superior Court accuses Gunna of violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering law against organized crime.
Gunna, alongside rapper Young Thug, whose legal name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, and aspiring rapper Christian Eppinger, co-founded Young Slime Life, a violent criminal street gang commonly known as YSL that is affiliated with the national Bloods gang in late 2012, according to Fulton County prosecutors.
The 88-page indictment includes a wide-ranging list of 181 gang-related acts that prosecutors say were committed starting in 2013 as part of the alleged RICO conspiracy to further the gang’s interests.
Gunna and Young Thug perform at half-time at the game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics on Nov. 17, 2021, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Adam Hagy/NBAE)
Young Thug, who co-wrote the hit “This is America” with Childish Gambino, making history when it became the first hip-hop track to win the song of the year Grammy in 2019, was arrested on Monday at his home in Buckhead, an upscale neighborhood north of downtown Atlanta. Eppinger was already in jail and is accused of shooting an Atlanta police officer six times in February.
Gunna, who is signed to Thug’s Young Stoner Life record label, scored his second No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart with “DS4Ever” this year.
The Grammy-nominated artist is known for boosting the viral catchphrase “Pushin P,” a term used regularly on social media by athletes such as LeBron James and Dez Bryant, along with professional sports teams such as the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. Gunna has said the term is based on “keeping it real.”
This image provided by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office shows rapper Gunna, whose given name is Sergio Kitchens. (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
“As the district attorney of Fulton County, my number one focus is targeting gangs,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. “And there’s a reason for that. They are committing, conservatively, 75 to 80% of all of the violent crime that we are seeing within our community. And so they have to be booted out of our community.”
“It does not matter what your notoriety is, what your fame is, if you come to Fulton County, Georgia, and you commit crimes and certainly if those crimes are in furtherance of a street gang, that you are going to become a target and a focus of this district attorney’s office, and we are going to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” she added.
Gunna was not in custody at the time of Tuesday’s press conference, Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat said.
In 2015, Young Thug rented an Infiniti sedan that five alleged gang members used when they shot and killed a rival gang member, the indictment says.
Gunna attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” exhibition on Monday, May 2, 2022, in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Young Thug and Gunna in 2017 had methamphetamine, hydrocodone and marijuana that they intended to distribute and were involved in a traffic stop the following year in which one of the vehicles had numerous weapons with high-capacity magazines, including an AK-47, according to the indictment.
It quotes lyrics from multiple music video appearances by Young Thug, including one from 2018 in which he says, “I never killed anybody, but I got something to do with that body,” and, “I told them to shoot hundred rounds.” Willis said she respects the First Amendment right to free speech, but she believes the song lyrics cited in the indictment are “overt and predicate acts” that support the RICO charge.
“The First Amendment does not protect people from prosecutors using it as evidence if it is so,” she said.
The indictment also accuses members of the gang of trying to kill rapper YFN Lucci, whose real name is Rayshawn Bennett, by “stabbing and stabbing at” him with a shank in the Fulton County Jail. YFN Lucci was among a dozen people charged in a separate gang-related RICO indictment in Fulton County a year ago.
Monday’s indictment also says it was an alleged member of the gang who shot at a bus in 2015 that was carrying rapper Lil Wayne.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.