Sept 29 (Portal) – A well-known former street gang leader was arrested on Friday on murder charges in the Las Vegas shooting of hip-hop star Tupac Shakur nearly three decades ago, a long-unsolved crime that has become a pivotal one moment became The History of Rap Music.
Duane “Keffe D” Davis, who police say has long been a suspect and has been involved in a series of public statements in recent years, was indicted a day after a grand jury in Clark County, Nevada, returned an indictment against him arrested him at his house.
The charges were presented during a brief hearing Friday before a judge, who ordered Davis, 60, to remain in jail without bail until his first court appearance next Wednesday.
Davis was charged with one count of murder with a deadly weapon for leading a group of men to kill Shakur in a drive-by shooting near the Las Vegas Strip in 1996.
Authorities described Davis as the “shotmaker” in a hasty conspiracy to avenge the beating that Shakur and members of his entourage had inflicted on his nephew Orlando Anderson at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the night of September 7, 1996, moments before the shooting.
Davis “orchestrated the plan that was carried out to commit this crime,” Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jason Johansson said at a news conference.
It was not immediately clear whether Davis had secured legal representation.
Police showed security footage from the hotel showing several men kicking and punching a person they identified as Anderson near a bank of elevators before security broke up the altercation. One of those seen attacking Anderson was identified as Marion “Suge” Knight, co-founder and then-CEO of Los Angeles-based Death Row Records, which produced Shakur’s records.
That incident, Johansson said, led to the “retaliatory death of Tupac Shakur.”
After receiving a gun from an unnamed employee, Davis, along with Anderson and two other men, Terrence Brown and Deandre Smith, got into a white Cadillac and drove off to find the black BMW that Knight had driven off with Shakur as a passenger had left the hotel.
As Davis and the others caught up with Shakur and Knight’s vehicle, shots were fired from the Cadillac into the passenger side of the BMW. Shakur was beaten four times and died in a hospital six days later at the age of 25.
Knight, who was struck in the head by a bullet but only slightly injured, was sent to prison the following month for violating his probation in an earlier assault case when he was caught at an MGM fight.
Authorities did not say who actually fired the gun at Shakur. The three others in the Cadillac with Davis have all since died.
Christopher Wallace, a rival “gangsta” rap star for the New York record label Bad Boy Entertainment, was shot dead in Los Angeles in March 1997 in a murder that remains unsolved.
Wallace, who performed as Notorious B.I.G., was involved in an escalating rap feud between the East and West Coasts before his death, and his murder was said to be possible retaliation for Shakur’s murder months earlier.
Johansson said the violence at the MGM stemmed from hostility between two rival Los Angeles-area street gangs – the South Side Compton Crips, of which Duane was said to be the leader, and Mob Piru, with which Death Row Records and Knight were closely associated.
Members of both groups were in Las Vegas the night of the murder to attend a world heavyweight title boxing match between Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon.
Johansson said investigators had reconstructed most of the circumstances and people involved in the events that led to the shooting in the first months of their investigation, but they long lacked admissible evidence to file criminal charges.
The case was “reinvigorated” in 2018 by “Davis’ own admissions of his involvement in this murder investigation, which he shared with numerous different media outlets.”
Davis, a self-proclaimed gang leader, had admitted in interviews and in his 2019 memoir “Compton Street Legend” that he was in the Cadillac from which shots were fired at Shakur’s vehicle.
That sparked a renewed push by police to solve the case, leading to investigators obtaining a search warrant for Davis’ home in July. Further evidence uncovered there paved the way for the prosecution, said Johansson.
An influential artist widely considered one of rap music’s greatest artists, Shakur was also one of the most commercially successful artists, selling more than 75 million records worldwide.
He was best known for his raw lyrics full of violence, sex and swear words describing life in the ghetto. His album “All Eyez on Me,” released shortly before his death, celebrated his own outlaw image.
Loved by his fans and loathed by politicians for songs that sometimes celebrated violence and misogyny, Shakur was no stranger to trouble, having spent much of the last two and a half years of his life in and out of courts, prisons or hospitals.
Shakur, who was arguably more popular in death than in life, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.
Knight, his manager, pleaded no contest in a Los Angeles courtroom in September 2018 to manslaughter charges for the 2015 hit-and-run in Compton, accepting a 28-year sentence as part of a deal with prosecutors days before his murder trial was set to begin .
Reporting by Lisa Richwine, Steve Gorman, David Ljunggren and Costas Pitas; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Leslie Adler, Daniel Wallis, Chris Reese and Sonali Paul
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