LAKELAND, Fla. — A 19-year-old "self-proclaimed" rapper is charged with murder after he shot a man in the back and then wrote a rap song about it, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
La'Darion Chandler is being held without bond and is facing multiple charges, including first-degree murder.
Sheriff Grady Judd held a news conference Thursday morning to provide details about what led to the shooting and the subsequent investigation where detectives pieced it all together.
It all started back on Dec. 17 on Pirates Way within the Secret Cove subdivision of Lakeland. Judd said Chandler shot 33-year-old John "Bang Bang" McGee, a known gang member in Polk County. Judd said McGee's mother allowed the sheriff's office to identify her son in this case because she didn't "want any more momma's to go through this."
Judd said McGee initially survived the shooting and was taken to the hospital to recover. However, he was uncooperative with detectives and refused to tell them who shot him. Judd said detectives believed McGee wanted to enact revenge himself on the shooter, who was part of a rival gang.
As detectives were investigating the shooting, McGee's health began to decline in the hospital because he refused to take his medication, Judd said. McGee died on Jan. 9, never revealing who shot him, Judd detailed.
Flash forward to Feb. 22, the sheriff's office said Chandler was arrested for aggravated assault at an apartment where he lives on Pirates Way. The aggravated assault and deadly shooting happened near Chandler's home.
Detectives said they found ammunition in a black duffel bag when they did a warranted search of Chandler's apartment. The sheriff's office said Chandler was convicted of three felonies as a juvenile, including grand theft and burglary. At 19, he was still on probation for a crime he was convicted of as a juvenile, Judd added.
The sheriff's office said detectives found a rap video on Chandler's social media that details shooting someone in the back — information that hadn't been publicly released by authorities.
The song included lyrics (which have been redacted due to offensive language) that said:
"N***a tried to run
I hit his back
Though I shoot like a mac
Dirt ass dead n****s knowing where to find me at"
Judd added Chandler wasn't "much of a rapper," saying he even conferred with his "rapper expert" — one of his detectives — who reportedly said he was one of the worst he'd ever heard.
Judd also stated Chandler "bragged" to detectives about always carrying a gun with him.
"If this guy is not locked up, he's shooting somebody," Judd said during the news conference.
One thing detectives don't have in this murder investigation is the gun used. To aid in finding it, Judd said there is a $5,000 reward offered through Heartland Crime Stoppers to find this specific gun. "All we want is the gun," Judd said, noting anyone who turns in the gun can remain anonymous.
He also added this shooting, along with other recent "gang-related" shootings in Lakeland, Lake Wales and Poinciana were a big reason why there is a new gang task force.
"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 in a statement. "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. We need your help to get illegally owned guns off the streets. Contact Heartland Crime Stoppers - remain anonymous and get $500 in cold hard cash. Anonymity is guaranteed."
Watch the full news conference below or by clicking here.