Tupac Shakur’s death: Police arrest suspect in 1996 drive-by shooting

FILE PHOTO: Rapper Tupac Shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois in March 1994.  (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS — Authorities arrested a man Friday accused of plotting to kill iconic rapper Tupac Shakur before the drive-by shooting that claimed his life nearly three decades ago, prosecutors said.

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A grand jury in Clark County, Nevada, indicted Duane “Keefe D” Davis on a charge of “murder with use of a deadly weapon and with the intent to promote, further or assist a criminal gang,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo said at a court hearing Friday, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Davis was in police custody earlier in the day.

DiGiacomo said that Davis “formulated a plan to exact revenge” on Shakur and Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight following a fight at the MGM that involved his nephew, Orlando Anderson. DiGiacomo described Davis as “the on-ground, on-site commander of the effort to kill Mr. Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight.”

Authorities said that a group including Davis — who was armed with a gun — waited outside a club where Shakur was expected to be after the fight in September 1996. The group left when neither Shakur nor Knight showed up. Officials said Davis next got into a Cadillac with three other men, including his nephew. They spotted Shakur and Knight a short while later, and one of the men in the car opened fire.

“In this case, the only living suspect related to this investigation is Duane Davis,” Lt. Jason Johansson said at a news conference Friday. “All other three suspects are deceased.”

Johansson said that authorities had learned about the fight at the MGM and determined the motivation behind Shakur’s death months after he was shot. However, he said authorities lacked the evidence to immediately prove the case.

“It wasn’t until 2018 that this case was reinvigorated as additional information came to light related to this homicide, specifically, Duane Davis’ own admissions to his involvement in this homicide investigation that he provided to numerous different media outlet,” Johansson said.

In 2018, Davis said during the taping for “Unsolved: The Tupac and Biggie Murders” that he was in the car when Shakur was shot decades earlier, Esquire reported. At the time, he said the shooting was retaliation for the earlier fight.

Clark County District Attorney Steven Wolfson said the grand jury spent months hearing evidence in the case against Davis before they issued an indictment Thursday.

“I know a lot of people have been watching and waiting for this day,” he said at a news conference. “Tupac Shakur is a music legend, and for a long time this community and (people) worldwide have been wanting justice for Tupac. Today we are taking that first step.”

The arrest, first reported by the Associated Press, is the first related to Shakur’s death in 1996. It came after authorities searched a home in Henderson, Nevada, owned by Davis’ wife over the summer, a warrant obtained by CNN showed.

In July, authorities seized several tablets, an iPhone, five computers, photographs and a copy of Davis’ 2019 memoir, “Compton Street Legend,” among other things, CNN and the AP reported.

In interviews and “Compton Street Legend,” Davis said he was in the Cadillac where shots were fired in September 1996. He described himself as “one of the last living witnesses to the shooting,” according to the AP.

On Sept. 7, 1996, Shakur and Knight were shot near the Las Vegas Strip. Shakur died days later at the age of 25.

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