The executive behind some of Atlanta’s biggest music is now at the center of a murder investigation.
11Alive reports that Zulu now faces murder charges for the death of a man who succumbed to his injuries that night. Despite the serious charges against him, Zulu’s attorney claims this was an obvious case of self-defense.
On June 26, Zulu was outside APT 4B, his Afro-Caribbean restaurant in Buckhead where he regularly hosts events, when he got into an argument with two men in the strip mall parking lot that turned into a shootout. First responders rushed all three men to a nearby hospital where 23-year-old Artez Benton was pronounced dead. Law enforcement released no further details about the third man who sustained gunshot injuries.
In recent weeks Atlanta police issued warrants for Zulu’s arrest for murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and simple battery.
On Tuesday, Zulu, whose real name is Ahmed Obafemi, turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail.
Until now, Atlanta police released very few details about that night. The shooting is one of many recent attacks on well-known figures in entertainment.
According to Zulu’s attorney Gabe Banks, Zulu was fighting for his life when four assailants jumped him. He said the Disturbing Tha Peace CEO sustained “nearly fatal” gunshot wounds and only fired his legally registered handgun in self-defense.
“Mr. Zulu was attacked and jumped from behind by a gang of at least four (4) individuals (sadly including the decedent) and was forced to defend himself after this gang repeatedly stomped, punched, and kicked him while he was on the ground,” Banks wrote in a statement.
“Mr. Zulu was shot in the back during the shooting and nearly lost his life, and is still recovering from the nearly fatal injuries he sustained that evening. Mr. Zulu was at his place of business that night and had every right to defend himself,” Banks continued.
Banks says his client did everything right to survive this tragic situation. The entertainment mogul cooperated with law enforcement and surrendered to police custody as soon as he learned of the arrest warrant.
“Mr. Zulu remains confident that his name will be cleared of all charges through the judicial process. It is not lost on Mr. Zulu that somone lost his life, but had Mr. Zulu not lawfully defended himself, Mr. Zulu would have been killed that night,” Banks said.
News of Zulu’s arrest comes after a similar attack cut another young Black man’s life short with senseless violence.
On September 12, Philadelphia rapper PnB Rock died in an armed robbery. The 30-year-old was eating at a restaurant with his girlfriend when a suspect reportedly demanded his jewelry and fatally shot him.
With deadly robberies and altercations on the rise across the country, the charges against Zulu seem extreme at best.
Based on the attack Banks described, the beloved businessman and philanthropist is lucky to be alive. There is already an outpouring of support for Chaka Zulu as he faces these serious charges head-on.
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