The sheriff’s office in Polk County, Florida, says a 19-year-old “self-proclaimed rapper” has been charged with first-degree murder. KTLA’s sister station WFLA reports.
In a news conference Thursday, Sheriff Grady Judd said La’Darion Chandler was charged with the shooting death of 33-year-old John McGhee on Dec. 17, 2022.
The charge comes after Chandler was accused of pointing a gun at someone at the Secret Cove subdivision in Lakeland on Feb. 22. While being held without bond in the Polk County Jail, investigators said witness interviews and tips from the community connected him to last year’s shooting.
The shooting victim belonged to a rival gang, according to the sheriff’s office. He died from his injuries on Jan. 9.
“Our crime is at a 51-year low, and our violent crime was down last year. Shootings like this one don’t represent what’s going on all over Polk County,” Judd said. “But there is a problem with very young gangsters shooting at each other — a problem that we aim to solve. The suspects in shootings like this one aren’t even supposed to have guns.”
Judd said Chandler mentioned the alleged murder in a rap song. “Only the shooter would have known he shot the guy in the back,” Judd said, referencing one of the lyrics.
Deputies searched Chandler’s home and found ammo in a duffel bag, but did not find the gun used in the alleged crimes. Heartland Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who with information that could help law enforcement locate it.
“We will pay $5,000 to recover the gun used in this homicide. Contact Heartland Crime Stoppers: we get the gun, and you get a whole lot of cash,” Judd said.
Chandler has been charged with first degree murder, delinquent in possession of a firearm and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.