30th September 2023 – (Las Vegas) On Friday (29th September ) a former street gang leader admitted to his involvement in the murder of hip-hop star Tupac Shakur nearly three decades ago in Las Vegas. The long-unsolved crime has been a defining moment in the history of rap music.
Duane “Keffe D” Davis, who had long been suspected and recently started implicating himself in public statements, was apprehended outside his residence a day after a grand jury in Clark County, Nevada, issued an indictment against him.
During a brief hearing on Friday, Davis, 60, was presented with the indictment and ordered by a judge to remain in custody without bond until his initial court appearance scheduled for next Wednesday.
Davis has been charged with one count of murder with a deadly weapon for his alleged leadership role in a group that orchestrated the drive-by shooting that killed Shakur in 1996 near the Las Vegas strip.
Authorities have described Davis as the “shot caller” behind a hasty plot to avenge the beating of his nephew, Orlando Anderson, by Shakur and his entourage inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the night of September 7, 1996, just prior to the shooting.
Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant Jason Johansson stated at a press conference that Davis “orchestrated the plan that was carried out to commit this crime.”
It remains unclear whether Davis has obtained legal representation.
Police presented hotel security footage showing several men assaulting a person identified as Anderson near a bank of elevators, before the altercation was broken up by security personnel. Marion “Suge” Knight, co-founder and former CEO of Los Angeles-based Death Row Records, which produced Shakur’s records, was among those seen attacking Anderson.
According to Johansson, this incident led to “the retaliatory shooting death of Tupac Shakur.”
After obtaining a firearm from an unnamed associate, Davis, along with Anderson and two other men, Terrence Brown and Deandre Smith, boarded a white Cadillac and set out to find the black BMW that Knight had driven away from the hotel with Shakur as a passenger.
When Davis and the others caught up to Shakur and Knight’s vehicle, shots were fired from the Cadillac into the passenger side of the BMW. Shakur, who was struck four times, succumbed to his injuries six days later at the age of 25.
Knight, grazed in the head by a bullet fragment but sustaining only minor injuries, was sent to prison the following month for violating the terms of his probation in a previous assault case when he was found to have participated in the MGM altercation.
Authorities did not disclose who actually fired the gun at Shakur. The other three individuals in the Cadillac with Davis have since passed away.
Another rival “gangsta” rap star from the New York-based record label Bad Boy Entertainment, Christopher Wallace, also known as Notorious B.I.G., was shot to death in Los Angeles in March 1997. His murder remains unsolved.
Wallace had become entangled in an escalating East Coast-West Coast rap feud before his death, and his killing was rumoured to be a possible act of retaliation for Shakur’s murder months earlier. Johansson explained that the violence at the MGM stemmed from animosity between two rival Los Angeles-area street gangs: the South Side Compton Crips, led by Duane, and Mob Piru, with which Death Row Records and Knight were closely associated.
Members of both groups were present in Las Vegas on the night of the shooting to attend a world heavyweight title boxing match between Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon.