Rapper Julio Foolio fatally shot in hotel parking lot, attorney confirms

TAMPA, Fla. — Rapper Julio Foolio was fatally shot in the parking lot of a west-central Florida hotel early Sunday during a weekend celebration of his birthday, authorities said. He was 26.

The Jacksonville-based artist, whose real name is Charles Jones, was shot in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn in Tampa near the University of South Florida and north of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the Tampa Police Department said in a news release.

Lewis Fusco, the rapper’s longtime attorney, confirmed Jones’ death to WJAX-TV.

“Yes, I have been his attorney for many years. He was shot and killed in Tampa,” Fusco told the television station. “I cannot make any statements at this time other than confirming he was killed outside of a Holiday Inn hotel while celebrating his birthday in Tampa this weekend.”

Jones’ birthday was on June 21.

According to Tampa police, the shooting occurred at about 4:40 a.m. EDT Sunday at a Holiday Inn located at 11606 McKinley Drive, across the street from the University of South Florida campus.

Officers arriving at the scene located two vehicles in the parking lot that had been shot at. Four people were struck by bullets, with Jones pronounced dead at the scene. Three victims were wounded and were being treated at an area hospital, police said.

“What we have learned, and this is early in the investigation, two cars were shot at,” Joneé Lewis, public information officer for the Tampa Police Department, told WFLA-TV.

Fusco told WJAX that Jones was visiting Tampa for the weekend and initially stayed at an Airbnb.

Jones, who had more than 1 million followers on Instagram, was known for his 2019 song, “Voo Doo” from the album “Never Wanted Fame.” He shared a video on Instagram advertising a pool party on Saturday night, NBC News reported.

Jones was reportedly asked to leave the location because of the number of people at the residence, according to WJAX. Fusco said that Jones then booked a room at the Holiday Inn and was allegedly “ambushed” in the parking lot.

“All of this information has been released by law enforcement; however, I am unable to comment on anything else at this time until it becomes public record,” Fusco told the television station.

In its news release, Tampa police said the victim was believed to be Jones but was awaiting positive identification from the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Lewis told reporters that investigators were examining surveillance video to learn more about the shooting, WFLA reported. No arrests have been made, she said.

“I only heard one (gunshot),” hotel guest Jeremiah Claypool told the television station. “It woke me up, but apparently there were more than that.”

Over the past three years, Jones had survived two shooting incidents in Jacksonville, WJAX reported.

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