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Rapper Lil Tjay shot in attempted robbery at New Jersey shopping center, arrests made


New York rapper Lil Tjay was shot at a shopping promenade in Edgewater, New Jersey just after midnight Wednesday, in what the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office called an attempted robbery against him and two of his friends.

Prosecutors announced the arrest of Mohamed Konate, 27, of New York City, on charges of attempted murder, armed robbery and weapons offenses, accusing the man of firing at the rapper, whose real name is Tione Merritt, as well as Jeffrey Valdez, 24, and Antoine Boyd, 22, both of the Bronx, who were with him.

Lil Tjay was shot multiple times in the attack, which also injured Boyd, with a single gunshot wound, prosecutors said in a press release Wednesday night.

Prosecutors had said earlier one victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition but was by then described as stable, while the other victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and is in “good” condition.

But the later announcement did not directly delineate whether Lil Tjay was the one described as having suffered the more severe injuries.

Lil TJay performs onstage during the Power 105.1's Powerhouse 2019 presented by AT&T at Prudential Center on October 26, 2019, in Newark, New Jersey.

Valdez and Boyd were also arrested following the incident on weapons possession charges and were being held in Bergen County Jail, according to prosecutors.

As of Wednesday night, Konate was awaiting extradition to New Jersey.

TMZ reported Wednesday morning that Lil Tjay underwent emergency surgery, citing law enforcement sources. 

Edgewater police and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office were at the shopping center after 7 a.m. Wednesday, inspecting a red Dodge Durango with a bullet hole in the driver’s window, as well as a blood-stained towel.

Lil Tjay has 7 million followers on Instagram and has released two studio albums through Columbia Records that each charted in the top 5 on the Billboard 200. His 2021 song with singer 6lack “Calling My Name” debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.

On Tuesday night, Lil Tjay posted an Instagram story, writing: “Just because you’ve been around a person doesn’t make you entitled to the fruits of that persons labor. Envy Is At An All Time High Be Safe Otchea.”

The shooting happened at the western end of City Place, a mixed-use development on a former Hudson River industrial site with stores and restaurants on the first floor and five stories of high-end condominiums above. The complex is usually bustling in the evening but dies down considerably after the restaurants and stores close. The complex has 24-hour security with guards in cars patrolling the facility.

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