Jam Master Jay’s family, Run-DMC respond to arrests in his murder case

Questions remain about what took so long as the suspects were previously identified by witnesses in a 2018 Netflix documentary about Jam Master Jay

Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell holds a toy figure of himself at a ceremony honoring his hip-hop group RUN-DMC’s induction into the Hollywood RockWalk February 25, 2002 at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, California. Mizell was shot and killed inside a Queens, New York studio October 30, 2002. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Jam Master Jay’s murder shocked the hip-hop world. The amiable deejay was one of hip-hop’s most respected figures as part of the seminal New York rap trio Run-DMC.

Read More: Arrests made in killing of Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC after 18 years

Born Jason Mizell, the Queens native was shot to death in his recording studio in the borough on Oct. 30, 2002. He was 37. Though there were several witnesses to the crime and suspects had been identified, the case languished for 18 years until two arrests were announced this week.

Jam Master Jay Run DMC thegrio.com
Musical artists Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell (L), Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (C) and Joseph “DJ Run” Simmons (R) of the hip-hop group RUN-DMC attend a handprint ceremony during the group’s induction into the Hollywood RockWalk February 25, 2002 at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, California. Jam Master Jay, whose given name is Jason Mizell, was shot and killed inside a Queens, New York studio October 30, 2002, according to a group representive. Police, who say two unidentified men were shot around 7:30 p.m. local time, have confirmed that one man was dead on arrival at a local hospital. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

As theGrio reported, Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan, Jr. were charged with Mizell’s murder on Monday.

By 2002, despite his success with the group, Mizell was heavily in debt and police say that Mizell had been trafficking cocaine across state lines since 1996.

Washington was supposed to sell ten kilos that Mizell had acquired from a supplier but after a dispute between the men, Mizell told him he was to be cut out of the deal. That was what led to two men to kill him, federal prosecutors say.

In 2007, Washington was identified publicly as one of the gunmen by witnesses and again in the 2018 Netflix ReMastered documentary Who Killed Jam Master Jay? Washington was a “person of interest” at the time of the murder as he had access to the studio.

2002 MTV Video Music Awards - Show Run DMC
Run DMC and Jam Master Jay on stage at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, August 29, 2002. Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect.

In 2002, Washington was ultimately arrested on federal charges for a series of armed robberies across several states and was sentenced to 17 years for those crimes in 2007. He was still in jail when he was charged with Mizell’s murder this week. Jordan is the son of Darren ‘Big D’ Jordan, Mizell’s close friend, who worked at one point at Def Jam Records.

As these revelations came out years ago and were made again in the 2018 documentary, it’s unclear how or why it still took years to make an arrest.

That may be why Mizell’s family was measured in their response to the arrests, saying they had “mixed emotions.”

“Upon hearing this news we have mixed emotions; we truly hope that these indictments are a solid step towards justice being served in the murder of Jay,” the family said via a post on Run-DMC’s official Twitter account.

“We realize that there are other families out there who have lingering pain who continue to wait for their own closure, and we pray that this case gives them hope. “

The statement continued, “In spite of all the tragedies we’ve seen this year alone, we take comfort in our family, our faith and in time’s ability to heal all. We can only hope that this news brings awareness to the fact that Black lives do matter.”

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels issued a statement about the arrests, as reported by CNN.

“Although this latest news opens up a lot of painful memories for all of us who knew and loved Jam Master Jay, I’m relieved to hear that 2 suspects have been arrested and charged with his murder,” McDaniels said.

He continued: “It’s been a difficult 18 years not having him around while knowing that his murderers were not yet indicted for this heinous crime. I realize this is a first step in the judicial process, but I hope Jay can finally Rest in Peace. My love to Jay’s wife Terri, his sons, his family, his friends, and all of his fans. #JMJForever.”

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Producer and artist DJ Hurricane, who grew up with Run-DMC in Queens and was the deejay for The Beastie Boys for many years, also responded via his Instagram account.


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