It’s been nearly 18 years since the legendary D.J. from the iconic rap group Run-DMC was gunned down in his recording studio in Queens, N.Y., on October 30, 2002. Now, two men have been arrested and charged with the killing of Jason Mizell, also known by hip-hop enthusiasts all over the world as Jam Master Jay.
The Associated Press reports that federal prosecutors will announce Monday that 56-year-old Ronald Washington and 36-year-old Karl Jordan Jr.—two men long suspected of fatally shooting the renowned D.J.—were indicted on charges of murder while engaged in drug trafficking, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity. Washington is already serving a federal prison sentence for robbery; Jordan was arrested Sunday.
The NYPD along with federal prosecutors in Brooklyn planned an afternoon news conference to announce the charges.
Jam Master Jay was 37 years old when he was shot once in the head by a masked assailant at his studio in Hollis, Queens, which “has been converted into the Hall of Fame studio owned by a new company that has kept Jay’s legacy alive with painted murals and several RUN DMC memorabilia that decorate the walls,” NBC New York reports.
Updated: 8/17/20, 6:10 p.m. ET: Federal prosecutors say the Run-D.M.C. DJ was killed because he was allegedly part of a major drug-trafficking ring and tried to cut the two men charged in his death out of the business, according to the Washington Post.
From the Post:
Karl Jordan Jr., who allegedly pulled the trigger in the high-profile killing, and Ronald Washington, were charged in a federal indictment almost two decades after the death of Jason Mizell known as Jam Master Jay. The pair face up to life in prison on an indictment including murder and cocaine-related conspiracy charges.
In July 2002, Mizell acquired ten kilograms of cocaine from a supplier in the Midwest, for distribution in Maryland by Jordan, Washington and other unnamed participants, according to the detention memo. Following a dispute, Mizell fired Jordan and Washington as distributors.
Prosecutors said that’s why they murdered the hip-hop artist on Oct. 30, 2002, a crime for which they evaded justice for 18 years.
It was not clear from public disclosures what led to a break in the case.
“Mr. Jordan and Mr. Washington walked into a music studio in Queens where Mr. Mizell and others were working essentially, hanging out, and they walked in and they murdered him in cold blood,” said acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme at a press conference near the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.