St. Pete rapper Rod Wave released after charges ‘determined not to be accurate’

St. Petersburg rapper Rod Wave was arrested Wednesday on a weapons charge that is related to a St. Petersburg shooting, but he was released from jail hours later after the charges were “determined not to be accurate,” a police spokesperson said.

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

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Mark Rankin, one of Green’s attorneys, said Green was never convicted of a felony and that police did not have enough evidence to charge him.

A probable cause affidavit from Green’s arrest on Wednesday says he was convicted of a felony in Pinellas County on Nov. 16, 2017, for carrying a concealed firearm. But court records from the case show Green pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon on that day.

“If you took two minutes to look at his record online, you would see that he’s not a convicted felon. And these are police officers that know how to check somebody’s criminal record,” Rankin said. “They cited a specific case in the affidavit to get him arrested, but if you look at that case, he was charged with a felony and then it was reduced to a misdemeanor. It takes two clicks to see that.”

St. Petersburg Police Department spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez confirmed late Wednesday evening that the arrest affidavit was incorrect.

“He was arrested on a charge that was later determined not to be accurate, so he was released,” she said. “This investigation is still open, it’s still ongoing and we are still looking to arrest more people and additional charges could be forthcoming.”

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 ]

The arrest stems from 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.

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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, police said.

On Monday evening, the police department’s SWAT team served a search warrant at the St. Petersburg house. Police said multiple items were seized, including five rifles, five handguns, ammunition, more than $10,000 in cash and miscellaneous pieces of jewelry.

According to the probable cause affidavit for Green’s arrest, police searched the Palmetto home on Wednesday. During the search, police found live ammunition and a slide to a handgun in the kitchen, the affidavit states. The affidavit says that multiple items in the home had Green’s name on them.

“The entire basis of that allegation was that the ammunition was on a kitchen counter or a table adjacent to a folder that had some papers with his name inside. That’s it,” Rankin said. “That’s certainly not enough to charge somebody and certainly not enough to convict him.”

Three men were arrested Wednesday in connection with the shooting: Kevontre Wesby, 20, Keith Wesby, 21, and Christopher Atkins, 24. St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Mike Kovacsev said during a news conference Wednesday that police did not know whether Green was involved in the shooting.

“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.”

Since March 2022, detectives have been investigating a “violent group” that identifies itself as the “YG’s” or “Young Gangsters,” Kovacsev said. 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.

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. Kovacsev said the suspects in Sunday’s shooting fled in a vehicle that was registered to Green.

Rankin said Green “doesn’t identify with any gang.”

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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