Jay-Z: I Shot My Brother When I Was 12

Entertainment Nov. 22, 2010 AT 9:01AM
Jay-Z: I Shot My Brother When I Was 12 Credit: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com

Jay-Z is fessing up for the first time about a crime he committed as a tween: he shot his older brother Eric when he was just 12 years old.

Touting a new book Jay-Z Decoded, the hip-hop mogul, now 40, opened up about the shocking incident -- he shot Eric, then a crack addict, for stealing a ring -- in an interview with British newspaper The Guardian.

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Growing up in Brooklyn, New York's infamous Marcy projects, the rapper (real name: Shawn Carter) says it was easy to get his hands on a gun. "How did he get the gun? "I went to someone's crib, someone's house, and got it. Guns were everywhere. You didn't have to go far to get one. Just everywhere."

After the non-fatal shooting -- he shot Eric's shoulder -- Jay-Z admits, "I thought my life was over. I thought I'd go to jail for ever."

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But his sibling refused to press charges. When Jay-Z visited Eric in the hospital, it was Eric who apologized for his crack addiction.

"It was terrible," he says now. "I was a boy, a child. I was terrified."

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It's the only time Jay-Z ever shot someone, he says. "There were shoot-outs, but I never shot anyone else. Most people in shoot-outs don't get shot."

He was, however, shot at three times, but was never hit. "It's like there was some rogue angel watching over us."

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