St. Petersburg rapper Rod Wave arrested on weapons charge in Manatee County

St. Petersburg rapper Rod Wave was arrested Wednesday on a weapons charge in Manatee County and the case is related to a shooting in which four people were hurt Sunday night, authorities said.

The 25-year-old rapper, whose real name is Rodarius Marcell Green, was arrested on two counts of illegally possessing a firearm or ammunition as a convicted felon, according to Manatee County booking records.

TMZ reported Wednesday that Green’s attorneys disputed that he is a convicted felon.

A spokesperson for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office referred the Tampa Bay Times to the St. Petersburg Police Department, saying it’s that agency’s case.

During a news conference Wednesday, St. Petersburg police did not say specifically what led to the charges against Green.

Rapper Rod Wave, whose real name is Rodarius Green, is pictured in Manatee County booking photo taken after his arrest on weapons charges on Wednesday. [ Manatee County Sheriff’s Office ]

According to the police department, the arrest is related to an investigation into a shooting outside of the Sonic Sports Bar and Lounge, 400 49th St. S. Police said four people were shot after a group of men got into an argument Sunday night. Three men in their 20s and a 17-year-old girl sustained injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.

The investigation led detectives to two houses connected to the suspects: one on the 500 block of Palm Avenue North in St. Petersburg, and the other on the 5400 block of Trevesta Place in Palmetto. Both homes are rented by Green or one of his businesses.

On Monday evening, the police department’s SWAT team served a search warrant at the St. Petersburg house. Two men were arrested on drug and weapons charges, but police didn’t find the shooters.

Three men were arrested Wednesday in connection with the shooting: Kevontre Wesby, 20, Keith Wesby, 21, and Christopher Atkins, 24.

St. Petersburg police said multiple items were seized during the investigation, including five rifles, five handguns, ammunition, more than $10,000 in cash and miscellaneous pieces of jewelry.

Since March 2022, detectives have been investigating a “violent group” that identifies itself as the “YG’s” or “Young Gangsters.” The group has been involved in drug trafficking and shootings, and police say a number of members have been seen with Green since the summer of 2023.

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Three of the men arrested Wednesday are connected to the group, and police say the group members are living in homes and driving vehicles registered to Green or his record label. St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Mike Kovacsev said the suspects also fled in a vehicle that was registered to Green.

Kovacsev said police did not know whether Green was there at the time of the shooting or if he had anything to do with it.

“We don’t know if he was there that evening when shots were fired. We don’t know if he had anything to do with it at that point,” Kovacsev said. “It’s more of a fact that you have vehicles, you have residences, you have a complacency. You’re complicit and we can’t ignore it. At the end of the day we’ll work with the state attorney’s office to determine whether additional people will be charged.”

The rapper grew up in St. Petersburg’s Cromwell Heights neighborhood. He began developing his musical career in high school, and in 2018 he signed with startup label Alamo Records, which was later acquired by Sony. In 2020, his song “Heart on Ice” became popular on TikTok and broke the Billboard Hot 100.

He was arrested in Pinellas County in 2022 on a domestic battery charge out of Osceola County that was later dropped. That same year, he made headlines for giving away $25,000 worth of free gas in St. Petersburg.

Times staff writer Lesley Cosme Torres contributed to this report.

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