JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A week after the arrest of Hakeem Robinson, a Jacksonville rapper known as “Ksoo,” in connection with the shooting death of a 23-year-old man in Arlington, a warrant for his arrest suggests a feud over a rap song may have led to the murder.
The warrant obtained by News4Jax on Wednesday begins to unravel a tangled web of gang-related murders that has played out in Jacksonville over the past two years, all involving local hip-hop artists.
It started Jan. 16, 2019, when rapper Willie Addison, known as “Boss Goon,” was killed and five others were wounded in Spring Park. The shooting victims had just left a rap music event at Paradise Gentlemens Club on Baymeadows Road.
Two weeks later, Damon Rothermel was shot and killed while riding his bicycle on Emerson Street. Rothermel was hit by a stray bullet during a shootout between cars.
Then on Jan. 15, 2020, 23-year-old rapper Charles McCormick, who’s known as “Lil Buck,” was shot and killed in Arlington during a daytime ambush in a shopping plaza.
In the past two weeks, six people have been arrested and linked to both killings.
Dominique Barner and Leroy Whitaker also face second-degree murder charges in connection with the death of McCormick.
Robinson is a well-known associate of Jacksonville rapper Yungeen Ace, whose real name is Kenyata Bullard.
Bullard was the only survivor of an ambush on Town Center Parkway in 2018 that left three others dead, including his brother. Bullard survived despite being shot eight times and has gone on to find increasing fame with over 2 million followers on Instagram and has released songs with Robinson.
The case against Robinson got a break when investigators used a confidential informant inside the pre-trial detention facility to record conversation with Barner. The warrant states Barner could be heard in the tapes discussing details about the McCormick murder.
Barner said he and others waited until McCormick left his house and followed him to a shopping center on Merrill Road. He also described the subsequent police chase after the shooting, according to investigators.
In an Aug. 27 interview, investigators said, Barner acknowledged he was driving the car that was involved in the murder of McCormick.
He told investigators he was with Robinson and Whitaker when they tracked down McCormick. Robinson had a handgun and Whitaker had an AR rifle, he said.
According to Barner, the reason Robinson wanted to kill McCormick was because he made a song which “talked [disparagingly] about Willie Addison.”
Barner told police that when McCormick came out of the business, Robinson jumped out of the rear passenger seat, chased McCormick down and shot him with an AR pistol, the warrant states. They later fled the scene and crashed in a nearby neighborhood before escaping the police.
A handgun was later found in the car that had fingerprints on it which belonged to Robinson, according to JSO.
The warrant shows investigators also looked at the Instagram page for Robinson, @ksoo23x, after the shooting to make their case.
Days after McCormick’s murder, Robinson posted a video of McCormick (Lil Buck) rapping. The posted video had the caption “Byeeee byeeee” with waving hand emojis, according to the warrant. Robinson later posted a video to his story which showed him at a nail salon getting a pedicure with the caption “Kill a n**** than go get my toes done.”
News4Jax Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson said social media accounts and rap videos are often monitored by investigators because they will give coded clues about feuds between rival gangs.
“A lot of times the rap videos sends out a message, and you’ve got to pay close attention to the lyrics of it. Sometimes they’ll tell that someone’s been murdered. They might implicate a person,” Jefferson said.
McCormick was also linked to Jacksonville rapper Julio Foolio, who has an ongoing social media feud with Robinson.
There’s been one other arrest this week that also may have a link to the violence.
Three days after Whitaker was arrested, Arlisa Tarver, a JSO employee, was arrested for alerting gang members of pending arrest warrants. It’s not clear at this point if Tarver’s arrest is linked to these specific cases. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said it could not comment on Tarver’s case, citing an ongoing investigation.
After the death of Rothermel, Robinson, Barner, Derek Hudson, Christopher Brown and Janera Smith were all eventually charged in connection with the murder.
On Thursday, JSO issued an emailed statement to News4Jax about the violence