Two men have been arrested in the killing of RUN DMC DJ Jam Master Jay, who was was fatally shot inside his Queens, New York studio nearly 20 years ago, the NYPD said Monday at a press conference.
Jam Master Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell, was killed by a masked intruder as he worked in his studio in the Queens neighborhood of Jamaica on October 30, 2002. He was 37.
On Sunday, Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan, Jr. were arrested and indicted on murder charges in connection with the DJ’s death, officials said.
The suspects were busted while allegedly engaging in drug trafficking, according to two law enforcement sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity to The New York Times.
Washington, 56, is currently serving a federal prison sentence for robbery, while Jordan, 36, was taken into custody on Sunday by ATF and the NYPD, according to NBC News.
"Being a native from Queens and being a big fan of Run DMC and Jam Master Jay, making this arrest was very, very important to me," NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said Monday.
“They walked in and murdered him in cold blood,” Seth D. DuCharme, acting United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said at the press conference. “This is a case about a murder that for nearly two decades has gone unanswered. Today we begin to answer that question of who killed Jason Mizell and why.”
"The relentless pursuit to bring this case to justice is absolutely incredible," he added.
Jordan will be arraigned via video Monday and Washington will be arraigned at a later date, police said.
At his arraignment Monday, prosecutors said it was Jordan who fired the gun that killed the iconic DJ. Jordan pleaded not guilty to all charges and was ordered held pending trial.
Prosecutors claim that the two suspects had “executed” Mizell after he sought to exclude them from “a multi-kilogram, multi-state narcotics transaction" that went wrong.
Mizell was part of the record-breaking hip-hop group, which dominated the charts in the 1980's, thanks to their singles “It’s Tricky,” “Sucker MCs,” “King of Rock,” “My Adidas,” and their acclaimed mashup of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.”
The group has sold over 15 million albums, including their platinum records, 1984’s “Run DMC,” and 1985’s “King of Rock,” as well as the three-times platinum “Raising Hell,” which was released in 1986.
The group has toured with many fellow artists, including the Beastie Boys, Lou Reed, LL Cool J and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In 1989, Mizell started Jam Master Jay Records and signed 50 Cent and Onyx. He is survived by his wife and three children.