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Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Tupac Shakur: a man has been charged with the rapper’s 1996 murder

Duane ‘Keefe D’ Davis was taken into custody on Friday and charged with one count of murder with a deadly weapon

In the early hours of Friday morning [September 29], Las Vegas police charged a man over the killing of rapper Tupac Shakur in 1996. Duane “Keefe D” Davis was arrested while walking near his home on the outskirts of Las Vegas, and hours later was indicted by a Nevada grand jury on one count of murder with a deadly weapon. Davis, 60, will appear in court next week for sentencing.

At a news conference on Friday afternoon, autorities described Davis as the ringleader of the group that carried out the murder, not the accused gunman. In Nevada’s state laws, if you assist someone in committing a crime you can still be charged for that crime. Las Vegas police homicide Lt. Jason Johansson said that, “Davis was the shot caller for this group of individuals that committed this crime,” and he orchestrated the plan that was carried out.

This summer, Nevada state authorities reopened the investigation into Shakur’s death, which had previously been unsolved for 27 years. In July 2023, Las Vegas police raided the home of Davis’s wife, confiscating multiple computers, a mobile phone, a hard drive, a Vibe magazine with Shakur on the cover, various photographs, bullets, and a copy of Davis’s 2019 memoir Compton Street Legend.

Davis had been known to the authorities since the murder, and wrote in Compton Street Legend that he was present at the shooting, inside the Cadillac where the gunfire that killed Shakur came from. In the memoir, Davis recounted that he first broke his silence on Shakur’s murder in 2010 to federal authorities, at a time when he was facing life imprisonment for drug offences. He wrote that the police “promised they would shred the indictment and stop the grand jury if I helped them out”.

Shakur was 25 years old when he was gunned down on September 7, 1996 on the Las Vegas strip. The rapper was in the front passenger seat of a BMW driven by Death Row Records boss Suge Knight when the white Cadillac pulled up next to them at a red light.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Greg Kading, a retired Los Angeles Police Department detective, told the outlet that he was not surprised by Davis’ arrest. “It’s so long overdue. People have been yearning for him to be arrested for a long time. It’s never been unsolved in our minds. It’s been unprosecuted.” Authorities also said on Friday that it was Davis’ own public comments in interviews and his memoir that revived the investigation.

Of the four people who were present in the Cadillac where shots were fired from – Davis, his nephew Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, Terrence “Bubble Up” Brown, and DeAndre “Freaky” Smith – Davis is the only one who is still alive.

This article was updated on 2 October 2023.

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