Detectives use facial recognition technology to find rapper in Wynwood shooting

Rapper Tankhead666 accused of shooting man outside Kush Restaurant

MIAMI – Lynwood Walker III, better known as rapper Tankhead666, is at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on Thursday facing charges in a fatal shooting outside of the popular Kush Restaurant in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.

Walker is accused of shooting the unidentified Kush Restaurant employee who was fighting with Walker’s friend Jose Trimaine Jose, a 6-foot-3 former University of Central Florida player who was known as rapper Fat Papi Escobar. The restaurant employee was wounded and Jose died.

After the fatal shooting on North Miami Avenue at Northwest 20th Street, Walker ran away. Despite a massive manhunt in Miami’s Wynwood-Overtown boundary, Walker was able to escape to another state. Assistant Chief Armando Aguilar said artificial intelligence helped detectives find him.

Miami Police Assistant Chief Armando Aguilar speaks with Local 10’s Christina Vazquez about the artificial intelligence-powered facial recognition software they are currently beta testing to solve cases and how they plan to be in dialogue with the community about this new technology.

“Within just over 30 hours, we had identified Mr. Walker and had him in handcuffs in Columbus, Ohio,” Aguilar said on Thursday.

Aguilar said the Miami Police Department has been testing facial recognition software by Clearview.AI, a New York-based tech company founded in 2017 by a 32-year-old entrepreneur. Detectives said the system, which has been criticized over invasion-of-privacy concerns, quickly tracked Walker, who has a “Death Before Dishonor” tattoo on his forehead.

A commercial database with billions of photographs in public spaces and on public social media platforms helped detectives to find Lynwood Walker. (Miami Police Department)

“The software is essentially Google for photos,” Aguilar said, adding that the company has about 3 billion photos in its databases.

Walker’s case isn’t the only one that includes the use of this technology. In the two months that detectives have been using the software they have been able to identify 10 suspects who have been tied to felony cases, including violent crimes, Aguilar said.

Lynwood Walker was booked in Miami-Dade County jail on Wednesday to face charges in a Wynwood shooting. (Miami-Dade County/SKY10)

U.S. Marshals agents were waiting for Walker at the airport in Columbus, Ohio, Aguilar said. He spent his 28th birthday behind bars. On Wednesday afternoon, officers booked him to TGKCC to face charges in three cases. Two involved firearms.

Gun violence has plagued Walker’s life since he was a toddler. Walker told VLADTV he grew up in Lauderhill and his father was fatally shot when he was three years old. He said his best friend was killed in a shoot out when he was 19 and his 18-year-old brother committed suicide.

Walker was a friend to Jahseh Onfroy, better known as XXXTentacion. The 20-year-old rapper was fatally shot June 18, 2018 during an armed robbery in Broward County. His June 27 service was held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. Erykah Badu and rapper Lil Uzi Vert attended his funeral June 28.

“Life is hard ... I have been around death my whole life,” Walker said during the VLADTV interview. “I have become numb to it.”

Walker appeared in Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Mindy S. Glazer’s courtroom on Thursday morning.

Lynwood Walker III appeared in Miami-Dade County court on Thursday. (Miami-Dade County)

In the Wynwood shooting case, he is facing charges of second-degree attempted murder with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder. Even though he didn’t shoot Jose, a father of three, Florida law requires a second-degree murder charge if a victim dies during the commission of a felony crime.

Walker was out on bond when the Wynwood shooting happened. He had two pending cases. One was a November case for domestic battery by strangulation and battery. Records show the other case includes charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Walker is being held without bond, and he will be back in court on Friday. The Kush Restaurant employee is still recovering from the gunshot wound, police said.

For those who have privacy concerns with Clearview.AI, Aguilar said the department plans to host several public meetings about the department’s use of facial recognition technology and the system’s massive databases.

About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.