A well-known Toronto rapper admits he discharged a long barrelled black revolver in broad daylight on Parliament Street on May 28, 2018, sending pedestrians running for cover, and then fled in a vehicle that took police on a dangerous chase through the downtown core.
Kareemallah Muhammad, 20, who raps as K Money, and his older brother, Sharrieff Muhammad, 23, a rapper known as Casper TNG, pleaded guilty to firearms and other offences Wednesday less than two weeks after a judge committed them to stand trial following a preliminary hearing.
Four men have now pleaded guilty for participating in the chase, which involved their rented SUV smashing into vehicles, travelling into lanes of oncoming traffic, mounting the curb and speeding along sidewalks, nearly striking pedestrians. The chase was captured on police in-car camera and surveillance footage, which was presented in court.
“The Muhammad brothers’ house had recently been shot at and Kareemallah Muhammad wanted to go to the Regent Park neighbourhood in the daytime to let off a shot to show he wasn’t scared,” according to an agreed statement of facts read in court by prosecutor Emily Marrocco. He was also “high” on Xanax, a prescription drug used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, according to the facts.
K Money’s biggest hit, “Come Outside,” has surpassed 10 million views on YouTube. The brothers are part of a rap group called the Menace Gang. Their music is played at Raptors’ and Leafs’ games, according to the judge’s ruling.
Police and prosecutors also allege Menace Gang is a “junior” street gang associated with the Project Originals, a gang based in the Alexandra Park neighbourhood, near Kensington Market on the west side of downtown, court heard. None of the four men were convicted of gang-related charges.
There is a long history of conflict between gangs operating in Regent Park and Alexandra Park. A shooting occurred in Alexandra Park the night of May 27, 2018, and the Crown’s theory was that the Parliament Street shooting was in retaliation.
K Money’s rap lyrics threaten unnamed rivals with death if they ever dare to leave home and boast about his fearlessness walking through Regent Park.
Kareemallah Muhammad had been taunted by “an individual” who posted messages on social media calling him scared, suggesting he’s hiding and dared him to show his face, his lawyer, Jag Virk, told court.
His client, a thin young man wearing shoulder-length cornrows, a black long-sleeve T-shirt and faded jeans, addressed Justice Howard Borenstein, who sentenced him to seven years in prison. He has four and a half years left to serve when pretrial custody is factored in.
“I am very sorry for what I did. I was young, it was stupid, and I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my mistakes and what I should really be doing with my life,” Muhammad told the judge.
He added that he wants to use the “influence that I have on the community for something good when I get out. And I hope people don’t think gangbanging’s cool … it’s not cool.” Borenstein told Kareemallah Muhammad he believed he was sincere and called him a “clearly talented young man who can … do something positive.”
He pleaded guilty to charges including reckless discharge of a firearm and committing an offence while wearing a disguise.
His older brother received an 18-month sentence for charges including committing an offence while wearing a disguise, bail breaches and a firearms offence. That’s on top of the two years he has remaining in a sentence imposed in May this year for firearm possession and drug trafficking.
The driver, Shakiem Anderson, 22, also pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges including dangerous driving and fleeing police. Anderson was sentenced to four years, less pretrial custody leaving him to serve two years less a day.
Also in the rented Volkswagen Tiguan that sunny afternoon was Harlem Baldwin, 22. In his guilty plea last month he admitted to carrying a loaded Smith & Wesson handgun that wasn’t fired. He is the cousin of the Muhammad brothers who raps as R.K. He received a four-year penitentiary sentence.
In the minutes after his arrest, Sharrief Muhammad asked an officer to tell the Toronto Star that Casper and K Money were caught, court was told. “I never did it but I want the clout so I could drop a banger,” court heard he told police. He was apparently referring to releasing a new song, which happened the next day, despite being in custody.
The judge credited the “remarkable” work of Toronto police for apprehending the four after they fled the vehicle, which stopped after crashing into garbage bins at Dundas Street East and Mutual Street.
Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy