Fulton County

Ludacris’ longtime manager Chaka Zulu killed 23-year-old in self-defense, prosecutors say

ATLANTA — Prosecutors in Fulton County have dropped murder and other charges against Ludacris’ longtime manager, Chaka Zulu, after they determined he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed a 23-year-old college graduate during a fight in the parking lot of his Buckhead restaurant in 2022.

In an exclusive statement emailed to Channel 2′s Michael Seiden, Jeff DiSantis, a spokesman for Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis, explained the decision.

“The Atlanta Police Department made an arrest on charges determined at a standard of probable cause, which is their duty in this and all cases The District Attorney’s office investigates cases to determine what can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt at trial...Our investigation of the facts and analysis of applicable law indicates that this is an appropriate resolution of this case based on the standard of proof required. Because the defendant is now involved in a pre-indictment diversion program, we will not comment further about the matter at this time.”

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The music executive, whose real name is Ahmed Chaka Zulu Obafemi, was one of three people shot on June 26 in the shopping center parking lot outside of his Buckhead restaurant. The shooting left Artez Benton dead and sent another person to the hospital. APD investigators said that the shooting was the result of a fight between Zulu and others.

On September 13, Zulu surrendered on charges of murder, aggravated assault, simple battery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Jail records show that he was released the same day on $200,000 bond.

After the shooting, Zulu’s attorney, Gabe Banks, argued that his client had acted in self-defense and released surveillance video from outside of Apt4B that showed Zulu getting beaten by a group of men before he fired his gun.

On Wednesday, Banks reiterated his claims of self-defense in the following statement:

“Mr. Chaka Zulu, a beloved son of Atlanta, is pleased with the outcome of the thorough investigation conducted by District Attorney Fani Willis and her team of lawyers and investigators.  From the beginning of this case, Mr. Zulu was committed to a fair process.  He fully believes that after a thoughtful examination of all the facts and evidence related to this matter, District Attorney Willis reached an appropriate and just decision.  It is not lost on Mr. Zulu that there was a loss of life under extraordinary circumstances.  However, it is now time for Mr. Zulu to put this difficult process behind him, and to focus on the support and nurturing of his family. Accordingly, we respectfully request privacy at this time, and that any inquiries be directed to the office of Gabe Banks, Esq.”


An attorney representing Benton’s family told Seiden that they do not believe justice was on their side.

“He should be held criminally responsible and he should have been formally charged for the death of their son,” said Theresa Seals, an attorney for Benton’s family. “They still stand by that today as they did from the very beginning.”

“It is a little surprising to them to kind of now hear that the next step is the diversion program,” she added. “The (DA’s) office just gave them generalities of what could happen and not a definite program.”

An almost three-minute-long clip captured Zulu getting into a verbal confrontation with another man, Tre’mon Robinson, in the restaurant parking lot. As the pair argue, another man, Corey Crawford, can be seen retrieving something out of a vehicle, which Zulu’s legal team believed was a gun.

Things turned physical when Robinson appeared to chest bump Zulu, who retaliated by shoving Robinson into a nearby car and grabbing him by the collar. Crawford, Benton and another man immediately jumped in to help Robinson, with all four pummeling Zulu with punches, kicks and stomps.

The video also showed Zulu’s female assistant jumping in to try to defend Zulu, but she ended up getting punched in the face by Robinson. After getting back on his feet, Zulu can be seen brandishing a gun and firing at least one shot into Benton, knocking him to the ground.

Crawford, off-camera, then fires multiple shots of his own, with at least one striking Zulu in the back. Police arrived at the scene and Zulu and Benton were rushed to a local hospital.

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After graduating with honors from Druid Hills High School, Benton went to Young Harris College, where he was recruited to play baseball. After graduation, Benton, who was the youngest of three kids, moved back home with his parents to save money while he went back to school to become an electrician.


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