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Sheriff paying close attention to clashing groups after Jacksonville rapper killed in Tampa

Sheriff paying close attention to clashing groups after Jacksonville rapper killed in Tampa

  • PublishedJune 24, 2024

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Following the shooting death of controversial rapper Julio Foolio in Tampa on Sunday morning, hundreds of miles away, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters immediately started calling his staff.

RELATED: Jacksonville rapper Julio Foolio shot, killed in Tampa ‘ambush’: attorney

Waters said that he had discussions with the undersheriff and others and told them to pay close attention to certain groups that he knows are clashing.

“We’re not going to allow you to just arbitrarily run around and spray bullets into people’s houses and cars…We’re not going to tolerate any retribution, any revenge. We’re going to watch. We’re going to be around paying attention to what’s going on,” Waters said. “If it takes us following them one at a time, then we’ll do that. Maybe secretly, maybe overtly, but we’ll keep them off balance, so they can’t shoot up cars and houses and whatever they want to do.”

Waters said he would not mention the groups involved, but News4JAX has been reporting on violence between two groups that JSO has called violent gangs: KTA, a group associated with Julio Foolio, and ATK, whose most well-known affiliate is rapper Yungeen Ace.

JSO has said ATK and KTA, the two rap groups behind controversial music videos, aren’t just rivals in music, they are enemies in the streets.

MORE: Jacksonville rappers are making music videos about real murders. Police and mothers of victims are watching

Julio Foolio, whose given name is Charles Jones, was killed in the parking lot of a Tampa hotel while celebrating his 26th birthday. His attorney described it as an ambush and police said people inside two separate cars were targeted. Other than Jones, three other people were shot. No arrests have been announced, but JSO said it is in close contact with Tampa police.

Jones had survived at least two previous reported shootings since 2021.

RELATED: Controversial Jacksonville rapper Julio Foolio suffers minor injury in Riverside shootout

“I think young people think this is a game,” Waters said. “[Jones] has a mother, you know, he has parents he siblings, probably, friends and they have to deal with these kind of losses and it’s unfortunate…It should never happen to our kids. And I’ve never seen so much devaluing of human life. You know, like it’s fun. And they talk about it in rap videos and songs, it just, it doesn’t make any sense.”

Yungeen Ace, whose given name is Keyanta Bullard, was the only survivor of an ambush shooting on Town Center Parkway in 2018 that left three others dead, including his brother. The group was out celebrating a friend’s birthday. Bullard survived despite being shot eight times.

Jacksonville rappers (from left to right) Ksoo, Julio Foolio and Yungeen Ace have racked up millions of views making songs referencing murders in the city. (YouTube)

News4JAX Crime and Safety Analyst Tom Hackney said there are concerns about violence increasing in Jacksonville due to Jones being a high-profile person.

Waters said he wants the public to be aware of what’s going on and to be vigilant.

MORE: Jacksonville teen’s murder becomes subject of TikTok trend. His mother calls it ‘ignorant’

“Look, the social media world is called ‘Meta’ for reason, it’s make-believe, it’s not real life. Real life is what happened to Foolio yesterday and that should not happen,” Waters said.

One of two cars targeted in the Tampa shooting that killed Jacksonville rapper Julio Foolio. (WFTS/CNN)

Retired JSO Detective Kim Varner worked for the department for more than 26 years. His son Kim Desi Varner Jr. was murdered in 2015 and his son’s name was mentioned in one of Foolio’s raps.

“Nowadays, social media will, it can get you killed. You know, you got to be careful what you put out there on social media,” Varner said. “His music, some of the things he said in his music, he mentioned my son’s name, you know, I lost my son, the street violence. He mentioned my son’s name in one of the songs and he had nothing to do with it.”

“He’s trying to make music, get street cred and build a reputation. But I mean, you go about it the wrong way and this is the outcome of it.”

Varner said he’s hoping other young men can learn from Foolio’s death, and use their celebrity status, for the greater good.

“You look at all the rappers, now they are all movie stars. Those guys came from the streets. They came from the dirt, like we sat on the streets, they came from the dirt and they got it. They made it and they kept going and going and going now there are Busta Rhymes, Ice Cube, 50 Cent, I mean it’s a ton of rappers out there, Jay-Z, that went to the movies, and are making their money, you know, legally,” Varner said.

Copyright 2024 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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