QUEENS, N.Y. — Two men have been indicted in the 2002 murder of Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay, officials announced on Monday.
The hip-hop star, whose real name is Jason Mizell, was shot and killed in his recording studio in Queens on Oct. 30, 2002. He was 37.
Federal prosecutors and members of the NYPD identified the suspects as Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr. Watch the news conference below.
The alleged motive was finally revealed, after nearly 18 years.
“We’ve charged this case as a drug-related homicide,” said acting United States Attorney, Seth DuCharne, who leads the Eastern District of New York.
The federal complaint revealed that aside from working on his “hip hop” music, Mizell allegedly trafficked cocaine with the accused shooters.
Mizell threatened to cut Washington out of a cocaine deal in Maryland, and that’s when the conspiracy to murder Mizell started, according to the complaint.
Washington has a long rap sheet that dates back 40 years, and he’s currently serving time in federal prison on a robbery conviction.
Karl Jordan Jr. was charged in a 2003 gun case that fell apart, after a witness was allegedly threatened.
The NYPD got a break in the cold case, when a detective at the 105 Squad in Queens Village was de-briefing a criminal suspect. The suspect gave up information concerning Mizell’s murder.
Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison noted, “Me being a native of Queens, a fan of Run-DMC, making this arrest was very important to me.”
As Jam Master Jay, Mizell was one-third of the celebrated rap group, Run-DMC — one of the most popular trios in hip-hop history. His fellow group members, Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, were not in the second-floor studio on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica when the gunfire broke out.
The hip-hop legend was known for his Adidas wardrobe, black hat, leather jacket, and large, gold chain. As a DJ, he had hands of gold.
Mizell was playing video games on a couch in the studio shortly before two men were buzzed in by his assistant, Lydia High. One of them hugged Mizell before the first bullet was fired.
Mizell’s friend, Tony Rincon, was hit by one bullet in the leg and the next bullet hit Jay in the head, killing him.
He is survived by his wife and three children.