PATERSON — Detectives arrested a 29-year-old city man Friday afternoon and charged him with attempted murder in connection with the February shooting in which a stray bullet wounded a 7-year-old boy inside his Paterson home, police said.
Sources confirmed that the suspect, Justin Pope, is a rap artist known as P-Dice who had been part of Fetty Wap’s Remy Boyz recording group until he and Fetty Wap parted ways last year.
Jaiden, who was hit by a stray bullet in his home on Monday night, sits with his mother, Diana Irizarri on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
The child, Jaiden DeLeon, was busy playing a video game in his new home on Friday when he learned about the arrest, said his mother.
“Good job,” the boy said, according to Diana Irizarri, his mom.
Two days after the Feb. 29 shooting, Irizarri had moved her family out of their apartment on one of Paterson’s most notorious streets, Rosa Parks Boulevard.
It is the same street where 12-year-old Genesis Rincon was shot and killed while riding a scooter in July 2014 and where 15-year-old rising basketball star Armoni Sexton was fatally wounded in an April 2015 shooting.
Irizarri and her four children now live on East 27th Street, in a different part of the crime-plagued 4th Ward. The mother said she got a call from a city detective about the suspect’s arrest.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “My whole family is happy about this. I give props to the Paterson Police Department. They did their job.”
Authorities have not revealed what evidence linked Pope to the shooting. But the charges lodged against him indicate that they may have found the gun allegedly used in the crime.
In addition to attempted murder, Pope was charged with weapons offenses and possession of a defaced firearm.
Authorities have said there was never any indication that the gunman was trying to shoot anyone inside the apartment. But gunfire is commonplace in that section of Rosa Parks Boulevard.
Pope, or P-Dice, appears several times in Fetty Wap’s official video for his hit “679,” a song that reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 last year.
Pope stands with his arm around Fetty Wap at different times, dancing and singing while holding a bottle of Remy Martin.
But in video interviews posted on YouTube, Fetty Wap dimisses P-Dice’s role in his organization, saying his hit songs were recorded without P-Dice’s influence. Fetty Wap said he kicked P-Dice out of the Remy Boyz several times.
Last fall, P-Dice and Fetty Wap engaged in an ongoing dispute through the hip-hop online media and video recordings.
MusicTimes.com reported allegations made by P-Dice that members of Fetty Wap’s crew pistol-whipped P-Dice for showing insufficient respect to the star.
Pope was arrested inside a home on 12th Avenue, police said. Authorities did not say whether it was his home or if he was visiting someone else. The news release announcing the arrest described him as “an alleged actor in this incident.”
The investigation was conducted by Ceasefire Unit Detectives Michael Quinones of the Paterson Police Department and Michael Boone of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
Police Director Jerry Speziale praised “the tireless efforts and collaboration” that led to the identification of Pope as a suspect and his arrest.