The family of rapper Tupac Shakur have been waiting 27 years for justice, police in Las Vegas said as they charged a man with his 1996 murder in Las Vegas.
The charges represent a long-awaited breakthrough in a case that has frustrated investigators and fascinated the public ever since the hip-hop star was killed.
A Nevada grand jury indicted Duane “Keffe D” Davis over the killing, prosecutors announced in court on Friday, who remains in custody.
Davis has admitted in interviews and in his 2019 tell-all memoir, Compton Street Legend, that he was in the Cadillac where the gunfire erupted during the September 1996 drive-by shooting.
His arrest comes two months after Las Vegas police raided Davis’s wife’s home on July 17 in neighbouring Henderson.
Police reported collecting multiple computers, a mobile phone and hard drive, a Vibe magazine that featured Shakur, several .40-calibre bullets, two “tubs containing photographs” and a copy of Davis’ 2019 tell-all memoir.
Officers said they were not looking at any other people in connection with Tupac’s death.
Shakur was 25 when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting near the Las Vegas Strip on the night of September 7.
The rapper was in a BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight in a convoy of about 10 cars.
They were waiting at a red light when a white Cadillac pulled up next to them and gunfire erupted.
Outlining the sequence of events police believe occurred, officer Jason Johansson said: “Prior to September 7 of 1996, as we all know, Tupac Shakur was an artist who was signed with Death Row Records and that Death Row Records and its CEO Marion ‘Suge’ Knight were closely affiliated with the Mob Piru criminal street gang, and that they had an ongoing feud with the South Side Compton Crips.
“Duane Davis was the leader and shot caller, of the South Side Compton Crips. And both of these gangs operated out of the Southern California area of Compton.
“On the night of September 7 1996, Tupac Shakur, along with Suge Knight, and members of their entourage which include members of Mob Piru, came to Vegas to attend the Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“Members of the South Side Compton Crips, which included Duane Davis, along with his nephew Orlando Anderson, were also in attendance at the same event.
“As both were leaving the fight, members of Death Row Records spotted Orlando Anderson near an elevator bay bank inside the MGM, a time they begin to kick and punch him near that elevator bank.”
In his book, Davis said he broke his silence over Tupac’s killing in 2010 during a closed-door meeting with federal and local authorities.
At the time, he was 46 and facing life in prison on drug charges when he agreed to speak with the authorities.
“They promised they would shred the indictment and stop the grand jury if I helped them out,” he wrote.
He has described himself as one of the last living witnesses to the shooting.
In 2018, after a cancer diagnosis, Davis also admitted publicly in an interview for a BET show to being inside the Cadillac during the attack. He implicated his nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, saying he was one of two people in the back seat where the shots were fired.
The shooting happened shortly after a casino brawl earlier in the evening involving Anderson, Shakur and others.
Anderson denied any involvement in the Shakur shooting. He died two years later in a shooting in Compton, California.
Shakur’s death came as his fourth solo album, All Eyez on Me, remained on the charts, with some five million copies sold. Nominated six times for a Grammy Award, Shakur is largely considered one of the most influential and versatile rappers of all time.
Shakur was feuding at the time with rap rival Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G., who was fatally shot in March 1997.
At the time, both rappers were in the middle of an East Coast-West Coast rivalry that primarily defined the hip-hop scene during the mid-1990s.