Two people have been arrested for Jam Master Jay's 2002 death. The Run-DMC DJ, whose real name was Jason Mizell, was shot and killed in a Queens, New York, recording studio nearly 18 years ago. He was 37.
Federal and New York officials announced on Monday that Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan, Jr. were indicted on charges of murder while engaged in narcotics trafficking and a firearm-related murder. Jordan is charged with several additional narcotics distribution counts.
Jordan was arrested Sunday and is expected to be arraigned via video conference on Monday, while Washington is currently in federal custody and will be arraigned at a later date.
Court filings described in the press release allege that Washington and Jordan entered the Queens recording studio on the night of Oct. 30, 2002, and the latter shot Jay and another individual at close range. The alleged motive for the shooting, according the court filings' description in the press release, is Jay's alleged acquisition of 10 kilograms of cocaine, which was allegedly supposed to be distributed by Washington, Jordan and others.
According to the press release, Jay "had recently informed Washington that the defendant would not be involved in distributing the narcotics in Maryland, which precipitated the murder conspiracy."
If convicted, Washington and Jordan face a minimum of 20 years' imprisonment and a maximum term of life imprisonment, or the death penalty.
In a statement to ET, Jay's family said they have "mixed emotions" after Washington and Jordan's arrests.
"First and foremost, we want to thank everyone who has reached out in support of our family today. We appreciate your kind thoughts and words," the statement read. "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. 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."
"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," the statement continued. "We can only hope that this news brings awareness to the fact that Black lives do matter. We ask that everyone please respect our family's privacy as this case moves forward through the judicial system. Thank you."
Additionally, Run-DMC member Darryl "DMC" McDaniels said the arrests brought up "a lot of painful memories."
"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 two suspects have been arrested and charged with his murder," McDaniels told ET in a statement. "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 commend NYPD, NYC Detectives, Federal Agents and all the law enforcement who were involved in this case, for not giving up and working to bring justice for Jay," his statement continued. "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"
Meanwhile, Seth DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney, praised the authorities "who never gave up on this case."
"The defendants allegedly carried out the cold-blooded murder of Jason Mizell, a brazen act that has finally caught up with them thanks to the dedicated detectives, agents and prosecutors who never gave up on this case," he said in a statement. "The charges announced today (Monday) begin to provide a measure of justice to the family and friends of the victim, and make clear that the rule of law will be upheld, whether that takes days, months or decades."
Dermot Shea, NYPD Commissioner, also reacted to the arrests, stating, "The gunshots that rang out in a recording studio in Queens nearly 18 years ago, taking this pioneering rap artist’s life, have been answered. Today’s indictment shows that no amount of time passed can erase the commitment of our NYPD detectives, federal law enforcement partners and prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District, to the pursuit of justice."
"The ATF New York Field Division never believed this case was unsolvable. Working tirelessly alongside the NYPD Cold Case Squad, we were determined to bring justice for the Mizell family and see these killers held accountable," Daryl McCormick, ATF Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, added. "For nearly 18 years, one of these alleged perpetrators walked freely, thinking he’d gotten away with murder. But today, thanks to the unwavering efforts of the investigators and prosecutors, two individuals will answer for their crimes."
Jay was a founding member of Run-DMC, an influential '80s hip-hop group. He is survived by his wife, Terri Corley, and his four children.