Murder of Tupac Shakur

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On the night of September 7, 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada that led to his death six days later on September 13, 1996. The murder remains unsolved.


Tupac Shakur attended the Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson boxing match with Suge Knight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. After leaving the match, one of Knight's associates spotted Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, a Crips gang member from Compton, California, in the MGM Grand lobby. Earlier that year, Anderson and a group of Crips had robbed a member of Death Row's entourage in a Foot Locker store. Knight's associate told Shakur and Shakur attacked Anderson. Shakur's entourage, as well as Knight and his followers, assisted in assaulting Anderson. The fight was captured on the hotel's video surveillance. After the brawl, Shakur went with Knight to Club 662 (now known as restaurant/club Seven), which Knight had rented for the evening.[1]

The shooting[edit]

At around 11:00–11:05 pm (PDT), they were halted on Las Vegas Boulevard by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department bicycle police for playing the car stereo too loudly and not having license plates. The plates were found in the trunk of Knight's car; the party was released a few minutes later without being cited.[2][3] At about 11:10 pm (PDT), while they were stopped at a red light at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in front of the Maxim Hotel, a vehicle occupied by two women pulled up on their left side. Shakur, who was standing up through the sunroof, exchanged words with the two women, and invited them to go to Club 662.[3] At approximately 11:15 pm (PDT), a white, four-door, late-model Cadillac with an unknown number of occupants pulled up to the sedan's right side, rolled down a window, and rapidly fired gunshots at Shakur. He was hit in the chest, pelvis, and his right hand and thigh.[3][4] One of the rounds went into Shakur's right lung and left testicle.[5] Knight was hit in the head by fragmentation.[6] Bodyguard Frank Alexander stated that when he was about to ride along with the rapper in Knight's car, Shakur asked him to drive the car of Shakur's fiancée Kidada Jones instead, in case they needed additional vehicles from Club 662 back to the hotel. The bodyguard reported in his documentary, Before I Wake, that shortly after the assault, one of the convoy's cars followed the assailant but he never heard from the occupants.[7]

After arriving on the scene, police and paramedics took Knight and a wounded Shakur to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. According to an interview with the music video director Gobi, while at the hospital, he received news from a Death Row marketing employee that the shooters had called the record label and threatened Shakur.[8] Gobi told the Las Vegas police, but said they claimed to be understaffed.[8] No attackers came.[8] At the hospital, Shakur was heavily sedated, was placed on life support machines, and was ultimately put under a barbiturate-induced coma after repeatedly trying to get out of the bed.[4] While in the critical care unit, on the afternoon of Friday, September 13, 1996, Shakur died of internal bleeding; doctors attempted to revive him but could not stop the hemorrhaging.[4] His mother, Afeni, made the decision to tell the doctors to stop.[5] He was pronounced dead at 4:03 pm (PDT).[4] The official cause of death was respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wounds.[4][9]

In 2014, a police officer who claimed he witnessed Shakur's last moments said the rapper refused to state who shot him. Tupac responded by saying, "Fuck you!" to the officer as his last words.[10] Paramedics and other officers present at the scene did not report hearing Tupac say those words, nor did bodyguard Frank Alexander or Suge Knight, who were also present.[11]

Investigative reports on the murder[edit]

In 2002, the LA Times published a two-part story by Chuck Philips, titled "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?", based on a yearlong investigation. Philips stated that "the shooting was carried out by a Compton gang called the Southside Crips to avenge the beating of one of its members by Shakur a few hours earlier. Orlando Anderson, the Crip whom Shakur had attacked, fired the fatal shots. Las Vegas police discounted Anderson as a suspect and interviewed him only once, briefly. He was later killed in an unrelated gang shooting." Philips's article also implicated East Coast rappers including The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac's rival at the time, and several New York criminals.[2] The second article in Philips' series [12] looked at the murder investigation and stated that the Las Vegas police department mismanaged the probe. His article stated that missteps of the Vegas police: were 1. discounting the fight that occurred just hours before the shooting, in which Shakur was involved in beating Anderson in the Las Vegas MGM lobby, 2. failing to follow up with a member of Shakur's entourage who witnessed the shooting who told Vegas police he could probably identify one or more of the assailants before the witness was killed, and 3. failing to follow-up a lead from a witness who spotted a white Cadillac similar to the car from which the fatal shots were fired and from which the shooters escaped.

One year after the shooting, Las Vegas Metro Police homicide Sgt. Kevin Manning, who headed the investigation, told Las Vegas Sun investigative reporter Cathy Scott that Shakur's murder "may never be solved." The case slowed early in the investigation, he said, as few new clues came in and witnesses clammed up. He said the investigation was at a standstill.[13]

Allegations involving the Notorious B.I.G.[edit]

The rapper Christopher Wallace, known as The Notorious B.I.G., denied playing a role in the murder. In support of his denials, Wallace's family produced computerized invoices suggesting that Wallace was working in a New York City recording studio the night Shakur was shot. Wallace's manager, Wayne Barrow, and rapper Lil' Cease publicly denied that Wallace had a role in the crime and said they were with him in the recording studio the night of the shooting.[14] Although Wallace's family produced computerized receipts to show that Wallace was in the studio at the time of the murder, The New York Times called the evidence "inconclusive," stating:

The pages purport to be three computer printouts from Daddy's House, indicating that Wallace was in the studio recording a song called Nasty Boy on the afternoon Shakur was shot. They indicate that Wallace wrote half the session, was In and out/sat around and laid down a ref, shorthand for a reference vocal, the equivalent of a first take. But nothing indicates when the documents were created. And Louis Alfred, the recording engineer listed on the sheets, said in an interview that he remembered recording the song with Wallace in a late-night session, not during the day. He could not recall the date of the session but said it was likely not the night Shakur was shot. We would have heard about it, Mr. Alfred said."[15]

Wallace died in a drive-by shooting by an unknown assailant on March 9, 1997 in Los Angeles, California, six months after Tupac was killed.


  1. ^ Las Vegas Sun, "Rapper on way to charitable event," September 11, 1996
  2. ^ a b Philips, Chuck (September 6, 2002). "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?". LA Times. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  3. ^ a b c "Tupac Shakur LV Shooting –". September 7, 1996. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Tupac Shakur's death certificate details reported by Cathy Scott. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  5. ^ a b Detailed information on the fatal shooting at
  6. ^ Retaliation for Shakur suggested - Las Vegas Sun News
  7. ^ "Tupac Shakur: Before I Wake". Retrieved 2010-07-28. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b c Interview with Gobi[dead link] at
  9. ^ "Tupac's life after death". September 13, 2006. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Seven magazine, "The Last Words of Tupac Shakur," May 21, 2014
  12. ^ Philips, Chuck (September 7, 2002). "How Vegas police probe floundered in Tupac Shakur case". LA Times. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Scott, Cathy (September 6, 1997). "The death of Tupac Shakur one year later". LV Sun. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Notorious B.I.G.'s Family 'Outraged' By Tupac Article". Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  15. ^ Leland, John (October 7, 2002). "New Theories Stir Speculation On Rap Deaths". New York Times. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 

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