Police in the US have arrested a man over the 1996 drive-by shooting of Tupac Shakur, 27 years after the rapper’s death.
Duane “Keffe D” Davis was arrested early on Friday in Las Vegas and sources have told the New York Post he will face a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
Mr Davis had been very public about being a witness to the shooting of Tupac, 25, and hip-hop mogul Marion “Suge” Knight on the Las Vegas Strip in September 1996.
Mr Davis said he was one of four occupants of a white Cadillac that pulled alongside the rapper’s car before someone inside rolled down its windows and fired, hitting Tupac four times.
In his memoir Compton Street Legends, Mr Davis identified his nephew, Orlando Anderson, as the one who fatally shot Tupac. Mr Anderson, who was a member of the South Side Compton Crips gang, died at 23 as the result of another gangland shooting in 1998.
Mr Anderson denied involvement in Shakur’s murder and was never charged. However, Nevada does not have a statute of limitations on prosecuting murder cases and the case of the California Love rapper’s shooting has always been open.
In July this year, Las Vegas police served a search warrant at the Henderson, Nevada, home of Mr Davis’ wife, Pamela Clemons, as part of Shakur’s homicide investigation.
Police confiscated several computers, laptops and iPads from the home, as well as a .40-caliber cartridge — the same type as the many casings that were recovered from the scene where Shakur was shot, according to a search warrant obtained by The Post.
Greg Kading, a retired LAPD detective who had investigated Tupac’s death, told The Post on Friday: “Davis provided the gun and he actively sought out Tupac with his nephew”.
“Davis gave the gun to his nephew, who was in the car with them, and collectively, they went out and intended to shoot Tupac. He provided the gun, and his nephew did the shooting, so they are all equally guilty under solicitation for murder.”
Mr Kading added, “I am super excited because this is huge. We knew this wasn’t an unsolved case, and now it looks like they have taken it to a point where they can officially close it. For the rest of history, Tupac’s murder will not be considered an unsolved crime“.
Mr Kading had interviewed Mr Davis twice while he was a cop in LA, in 2008 and 2009 while investigating the murders of Shakur and his rap rival Notorious B.I.G., a.k.a. Christopher Wallace, who was gunned down in Hollywood.
Following the shooting, Tupac was rushed to the University Medical Centre of Southern Nevada — along with Mr Knight, who was also hit — and listed in critical condition.
He died six days later, on September 13, of cardiac arrest. Although the shooting took place in a very visible public area, no witnesses came forward at the time.
It has been heavily speculated Tupac’s murder was gang-related. The rapper was associated with the Bloods street gang and earlier on the night of his death, he had gotten into a fight with Mr Anderson following a boxing match between Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon.
Mr Davis said in his book that the first time he talked about Tupac’s shooting was in 2010 during a meeting with federal and local authorities. He said he agreed to speak to them privately in exchange for them releasing him from drug charges for which he was facing life in prison.
Shakur’s stepbrother, Mopreme Shakur, told CNN in an interview that he and his family have been frustrated since Mr Davis’ name has been floated in connection to the murder for decades.
“This theory hasn’t been looked into for 27 years,” Mopreme Shakur said. “Why? My family’s been traumatised, my sister, my daughter, my nieces, my nephews, we’ve all been traumatised, waiting. We’ve been waiting for something to happen, for someone to be proactive enough to take action.”
Throughout his brief career, Shakur — born Lesane Parish Crooks — sold more than 75 million records worldwide.
This story first appeared in the New York Post and is reproduced with permission.