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Rapper Ludacris' Manager Chaka Zulu Charged In Atlanta Shooting Death

Chaka Zulu — a music manager and restauranteur whose given name is Ahmed Obafemi — has been charged in the June shooting death of Artez Benton. Zulu's attorney said his client, who was also seriously injured in the altercation, acted in self defense. 

By Jax Miller
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The long-time manager of rap superstar Ludacris has been charged in connection with a shooting outside an Atlanta restaurant in June.

Ahmed Obafemi, who works under the professional name Chaka Zulu, surrendered to Atlanta Police on Tuesday on murder and other charges related to the death of 23-year-old Artez “Tez” Benton, according to Variety. Jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com show Obafemi is charged with murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and simple battery. He made bond and was released the same day.

Benton was shot to death outside Obafemi’s Atlanta restaurant, APT 4B, on June 26.

Atlanta police said they responded to the Peachtree Road establishment at around 11:35 p.m. that night, where three adult males were transported to hospitals with gunshot wounds — including Benton, who later succumbed to his injuries, and Obafemi.

According to Benton’s family, who spoke to Atlanta’s WSB-TV in June, Benton had decided to leave the restaurant and, on his way out, he inadvertently stepped into the crossfire of two groups who had broken out into a fight during which gunfire was exchanged.

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Obafemi was also shot during the altercation.

Released 911 calls reveal that complainants reported hearing “seven [or] eight” shots outside the restaurant.

“I looked outside; there’s people on the ground,” said one of the callers. “Everybody’s pulling the heck out.”

Benton’s family maintained that the recent college graduate, who was pursuing a career as an electrician, was not involved in the fight.

Obafemi’s attorney, Gabe Banks, made a statement on Instagram on Sunday, claiming that Benton wasn’t killed by happenstance and that Obafemi acted in self-defense.

“A close review of all of the evidence, including the surveillance footage and eyewitness interviews, reveal that Mr. Zulu was attacked and jumped from behind by a gang of at least four 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 in a defenseless posture,” Banks posted.

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Banks noted that Obafemi was shot in the back and nearly lost his life, claiming he is still recovering from his “nearly fatal injuries.”

“Mr. Zulu was at his place of business that night and had every right to defend himself,” Banks stated. “In an attempt to save his life, Mr. Zulu lawfully discharged his weapon in self-defense, a weapon that he was licensed to carry.”

Banks said Obafemi has cooperated fully with law enforcement during their investigation and surrendered to authorities once learning of the charges.

“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 concluded.

Obafemi is well-known as the long-time music manager for superstar rapper Ludacris, who is from Atlanta, according to Fox affiliate WAGA-TV. Obafemi, his brother and Ludacris (whose real name is Christopher Bridges) were behind the creation of “Disturbing Tha Peace,” an independent record label formed in 1998.

Ludacris was the label’s first client and went on to win several awards, including three Grammys.

Many celebrities are coming forward to voice their support following Obafemi’s arrest, including 50 Cent, Tyrese Gibson and former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Obafemi’s sister, Aiyisha Obafemi, is asking why police have only charged Obafemi and not the people who attacked him just before the shooting.

“Not only has APD charged my brother, they have not charged the people who jumped and stomping him (including the deceased), nor the person who shot him,” she said. “They have the names, witness statement, video surveillance, etc. We demand justice and that a full investigation is done. Chaka has been a son of Atlanta for over 30 years and his character and reputation speak for themselves. Put some respect on his name!”

Benton’s father said little following Obafemi's arrest, but did tell the Journal-Constitution, “I’m sure that once we get to the bottom of this, justice will be served.”

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