NEW YORK (AP) — The 1996 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas claimed the life of one of the last surviving witnesses. This charge marks a long-awaited development in a case that has baffled investigators and captivated the public since the hip-hop icon was shot and killed 27 years ago.
Prosecutors revealed in court on Friday that Duane "Keffe D" Davis was indicted in the death by a Nevada grand jury. As per Marc DiGiacomo, Chief Deputy District Attorney, a grand jury has been deliberating over the matter for "many months." The "on-ground, on-site commander" who "ordered the death" of Shakur was identified by DiGiacomo as Davis.
The allegations were made public many hours after Davis, 60, was taken into custody this morning while strolling close to his residence, as reported by DiGiacomo.
Investigators have known Davis for a long time, and he has acknowledged in interviews and in his 2019 autobiography, "Compton Street Legend," that he was in the Cadillac when the gunfire broke out during the drive-by shooting in September 1996. Shakur was slain at the age of 25.
Mid-July saw a raid by Las Vegas police on a residence connected to Davis in the Henderson area of Las Vegas. The warrant for the search stated that the things the police were searching for were "concerning the murder of Tupac Shakur." A number of computers, a hard drive and cellphone, several.40-caliber bullets, two "tubs containing photographs," a copy of Davis' memoir, and a Vibe magazine featuring Shakur were among the items they gathered.
Davis was not given bail by Clark County District Judge Jerry Wiese. In a brief statement to AP following the hearing, District Attorney Steve Wolfson stated, "It has often been said that justice delayed is justice denied." "Justice has been delayed in this case, but it won't be withheld."
If Davis has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf, that information wasn't immediately apparent. Since the house raid more than two months ago, The Associated Press has called and texted Davis numerous times, but Davis has not returned their messages asking for an interview or a remark.
Shakur was part of a convoy of perhaps ten cars, led by Marion "Suge" Knight, the founder of Death Row Records, in a BMW. When a white Cadillac drew up next to them, they were waiting at a red light when shooting broke out. Shakur, who was 25 years old, was shot several times before passing away a week later.
The rapper passed away while "All Eyez on Me," his fourth solo album, was at number one on the charts and had sold about five million copies. Shakur, who received six Grammy Award nominations, is still regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time in terms of influence and versatility.
According to Davis' memoir, he was in the Cadillac's front passenger seat when the gun used in the murder was slid into the backseat, where he said it originated.
Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, Davis' nephew, was named as one of the two individuals in the backseat. Shakur's well-known adversary Anderson and the rapper got into a battle in a casino just before the shooting.
In support of his nephew, DiGiacomo said that "Mr. Davis formulated a plan to exact revenge upon Mr. Knight and Mr. Shakur" following the fight at the casino.
Anderson passed away after two years. He denied knowing anything about Shakur's passing.
In his biography, Davis stated that he initially broke his silence in a 2010 encounter with federal and local authorities behind closed doors. When he consented to talk to them about Tupac's murder and the deadly shooting of Tupac's rap adversary, Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G., six months later, he was 46 years old and facing life in prison on drug charges.
For the truth about the Tupac and Biggie killings, they offered to let him free for operating a "criminal enterprise" and committing multiple claimed murders, the man wrote. "If I helped them out, they said they would stop the grand jury and shred the indictment."
Shakur was at that time involved in a fight with Biggie Smalls, a rival rapper who was shot and killed in March 1997. During the mid-1990s, the hip-hop culture was mostly defined by an East Coast-West Coast rivalry between the two artists at the moment.
Retired Los Angeles police officer Greg Kading, who spent years looking into the Shakur killing and authored a book about it, stated he was not shocked to learn about Davis's arrest.
According to the former Los Angeles police detective, Davis' public admissions of his involvement in the killing—including those made in his 2019 memoir—have given the probe further impetus in recent years.
"Those incidents have provided Las Vegas with the means and the confidence to advance," Kading stated. Before Keffe D made his public statements, the cases could not be prosecuted in their current form.