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Longtime Atlanta music executive and manager of rapper Ludacris facing murder charges, police say

Zulu was initially described as a victim stemming from a June shooting outside a Buckhead strip mall that left one dead, but is now being charged with murder.

ATLANTA — Chaka Zulu, a longtime music executive and manager of iconic Atlanta rapper Ludacris, is now facing murder charges, Atlanta Police Department said in a statement Saturday.

Atlanta Police Homicide Investigators identified Zulu, whose real name is Ahmed Obafemi, as a suspect in the late-June shooting outside a Buckhead strip mall on Peachtree Road and were able to secure warrants for his arrest, APD said. On Tuesday, he turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail.

Zulu is being charged with murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and simple battery, APD stated.

RELATED: Chaka Zulu, longtime Atlanta music exec and Ludacris' manager, shot overnight in Buckhead

Zulu, co-CEO of Disturbing Tha Peace Records, was shot outside the strip mall around 11:35 p.m. on June 26 where two other men were also shot, according to authorities. All three victims were taken to the hospital, where one was later pronounced dead.

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

APD said that homicide investigators responded to the scene where they began their investigation into the incident. Officers on scene initially told 11Alive that the shooting sprung from an argument in the parking lot behind the strip center on Peachtree Road and that Zulu was a surviving victim.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner previously identified the deceased victim as 23-year-old Artez Benton. 

In a statement to 11Alive, Zulu's attorney, Gabe Banks of Banks Weaver, LLC, says the shooting was in self defense after his client was attacked.

"Mr. Zulu was at his place of business that night and had every right to defend himself. In an attempt to save his life, Mr. Zulu lawfully discharged his weapon in self-defense; a weapon that he is licensed to carry," the statement read. "Mr. Zulu fully cooperated with law enforcement officials and their investigation, and voluntarily turned himself in once he learned of the arrest warrants. Mr. Zulu remains confident that his name will be cleared of all charges through the judicial process."

Zulu is best known as manager to hip-hop artist Ludacris. His label, Disturbing Tha Peace Records, now a subsidiary of Def Jam, has represented artists including Chingy, Bobby Valentino, Young Jeezy, Swizz Beatz, Big K.R.I.T. and Childish Major.  

A bio on the National Black College Hall of Fame Foundation website says he was behind the brands of T.I., Ludacris, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, Iggy Azalea, Outkast, Cee-Lo Green, 8 Ball & MJG, B.O.B., Dj Drama, and Big K.R.I.T.

The investigation is still active and ongoing at this time.

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