Man shot in leg in Brooklyn may be connected to murder of rapper

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Police guard the scene where the man was shot in the leg. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

A man was shot in the leg Thursday afternoon while paying his respects at a candlelight memorial to a rising rap star who was killed over the Memorial Day weekend in Brooklyn.

This most recent shooting appears connected to the murder of rap star KJ Balla, 23, who was killed May 22 while and another man was wounded during a drive-by shooting along an East New York, Brooklyn street, police sources confirmed Saturday. Investigators believe the shooting is part of an ongoing gang war in the community.

Police from the 75th Precinct responded to a 911 call about the shooting at 1:45 p.m. Thursday at 790 Eldert Lane in the Linden Plaza Houses. Police found a yet unidentified man shot int he leg, laying next to the memorial that was set up to honor the memory of the late rapper.

He was rushed by EMS to Brookdale University Medical Center in stable condition. A gun was found lying next to the memorial and police believe it may belong to the victim. It was unclear if the victim returned fire, police say.

Witness Barry Woods, who lives in the building, said the victim and the gunman became embroiled in a scuffle, and then “I heard someone yell out, ‘gun!’ And then I heard a couple shots and we all ran.”

Investigators believe this shooting is related to the murder of rapper KJ Balla, who was shot along Bradford Street near New Lots Avenue as part of that ongoing gang war.

There is no description as yet on the suspect, though police are reviewing video surveillance of the plaza. Security at this plaza is normally very heavy.

According to law enforcement sources, Balla, real name Noel Kennedy, and a 26-year-old man were outside the location when a vehicle drove up. An unidentified gunman began firing shots at them before speeding away from the scene.

Rapper KJ Balla, whose real name was Noel Kennedy, was gunned down on a Brooklyn street on May 22, 2020. Photo via Instagram/kjballa_, image edited)

Cops found Kennedy, who lived on East New York Avenue, with a gunshot wound to his upper torso. Paramedics rushed Kennedy to Brookdale University Medical Center, where he died.

During the preliminary investigation, police learned that the second victim had been shot at the same location, but he had already been taken by private means to Brookdale Hospital.

Police said he took bullets to his abdomen, back, and arm.

Heavy.com reported that KJ Balla is known for two hit singles, “Switch the Game” and “Strangers,” both of which were streamed on Spotify more than 80,000 times. His 2017 music video “Cookin Up” was viewed more than 1.7 million times on YouTube.

This is the second rapper this month to be killed in Brooklyn. On May 11, Nickalus Thompson, aka rapper Nicky Blixky, of Lenox Road in East Flatbush was shot and killed by an unknown gunman in front of 200 Winthrop St., near Rogers Avenue. Thompson was due to release a debut catalog of new music entitled, “Different Timin,” to be released on June 3.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Police secure the crime scene after the shooting at Lincoln Plaza Houses. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)