Fulton County Jail records show that Zulu, legal name Ahmed Obafemi, turned himself in on Tuesday on charges of murder, aggravated assault, simple battery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was released that same day on $200,000 bond.
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The shooting occurred June 26 around 11:35 p.m. outside an Atlanta-area restaurant, following an altercation in a parking lot. Three men, including Zulu, were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds, where one person — later identified as Artez Benton of Scottdale, Georgia – died of his injuries.
“We are fortunate to report that Chaka Zulu is in stable condition and recovering,” former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, acting as a family spokesperson, said at the time (via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
While investigators didn’t elaborate on the motive of the shooting or the circumstances that led them to arrest the music executive, Zulu’s lawyer Gabe Banks has insisted that his client acted in self-defense after he was attacked by “a gang of at least four individuals and was forced to defend himself after this gang repeatedly stomped, punched, and kicked him while he was on the ground in a defenseless posture.”
“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 said in a statement to Rolling Stone.
“In an attempt to save his life, Mr. Zulu lawfully discharged his weapon in self-defense; a weapon that he is licensed to carry,” Banks said, adding that Zulu “remains confident that his name will be cleared of all charges through the judicial process. It is not lost on Mr. Zulu that someone lost his life, but had Mr. Zulu not lawfully defended himself, Mr. Zulu would have been killed that night.”
Banks also said that Zulu was “disappointed” by the Atlanta Police Department’s decision to bring charges against him.
Zulu, along with his brother Jeff Dixon and Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges, founded Atlanta’s Disturbing tha Peace Records in 1998, with Ludacris the first artist signed to the independent label. Zulu had served as the rapper’s manager since the late Nineties, and has also represented Atlanta rappers like Big K.R.I.T. and Jeezy. In 2019, Zulu joined Spotify as the Head of Artist and Talent Relations.
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