Homicide detectives spent close to three decades investigating who was behind Tupac Shakur's murder during a drive-by shooting on the Las Vegas strip on Sept. 7, 1996.
On Friday, after decades of frustration for those who wanted justice for the beloved rapper, authorities announced a Clark County grand jury hasa murder indictment for Duane "Keffe D" Davis.
"Many people who did not believe the murder of Tupac Shakur was important to this police department, I am here to tell you: That was simply not the case," said Las Vegas Sheriff Kevin McMahill. Authorities outlined the timeline and evidence they said built a solid case against Davis, some of it built on interviews he gave to various media outlets.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said in a news conference Friday that Davis "will appear in court in the next few days" to determine his custody status and set a court date for his trial. He has been charged with one count of open murder use of a deadly weapon with a gang enhancement, Wolfson said.
At 60 years old, Davis is the last living suspect in the case, authorities said. Who is the man that has evaded authorities for 27 years?
A self-described "hardened gangster"
Davis was a leader of the South Side Compton Crips gang when he planned his revenge against Shukar, police said. In 2019, he released a tell-all memoir called "Compton Street Legend."
In the memoir, he said he had risen up the ranks at the South California notorious gang to become a "shot caller," and was running a multimillion-dollar drug empire nationwide. Born in Watts, California, Davis and his family moved to Compton, then a "middle-class family-oriented neighborhood for Black families," he said. His father and uncle were betting on horses at the Agua Caliente Race track in Tijuana, Mexico when Davis' father won $50,000 – the equivalent of $1 million today – he wrote in his memoir.
With the money, Davis wrote, his parents, his mother a homemaker from Texas, and his father, a Marine from Virginia, purchased a house in Compton and two new cars – excited by the promise and possibility of America. When they moved to their block in 1965, Davis said, their family was the only Black one. Little by little, White families started to move away "like cockroaches fleeing when the lights were turned on," Davis wrote.
One of 12 siblings, Davis grew up surrounded by family. His mother died from colon cancer in 1980, when Davis was 15. Davis wrote that in 2014 he got the same cancer — now in remission — that killed his mother. Two of his brothers also died: one from cancer, and the other was shot in the streets of Compton. Davis said he first met Death Row Records CEO Marion "Suge" Knight when he was 9 years old. He said he started getting involved with the Crips in 1971, mostly because it was what all the boys in the neighborhood were doing. He was working in Compton College but it "wasn't rolling fast enough," he said. He had an opportunity to sell drugs, and he liked how quickly he made money.
Davis wrote he went to prison for dealing from 1985-1989 and he said the time in prison didn't rehabilitate him but made him a "hardened gangster." Davis detailed his conversations with authorities over Shakur's death. Davis was 46 and facing federal drug charges, but agreed to speak to them so they "would shred the indictment."
How is Duane "Keffe D" Davis allegedly involved in the murder?
Three other men believed to be in the white Cadillac the night of Shakur's shooting have died. Davis is the last living suspect in the case, police said. On the night of the shooting, Shakur and members of his entourage came to attend the Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Shakur and Knight saw Davis's nephew Orlando Anderson in the hotel, authorities said. Surveillance footage showed Shakur and Knight beating the nephew, and the fight was stopped by hotel employees. News of the fight got back to Davis, police said, and he started hatching a plan to get revenge.
Davis got a firearm from a "close associate," police said, and gathered Orlando Anderson, Terrance Brown and Deandre Smith to go with him in the infamous white Cadillac. Onin Henderson, Nevada.
Detectives reported on the search warrant collecting multiple computers, 40-caliber bullets, "tubs containing photographs," a cellphone and a hard drive. They also took a magazine that featured Shakur, and a copy of "Compton Street Legend."
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