World-famous rapper Tupac Shakur was shot in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996, but no one has ever been arrested for his murder. Now, however, former gangster Keefe D – real name Duane Keith Davis – has revealed that he was in fact witness to the events leading to Tupac’s death. Perhaps, then, the mystery is close to being solved.
One of the world’s seminal rap artists, Tupac recorded four albums in his lifetime that secured his place in hip-hop history. The rapper’s first record, released in 1991, was 2Pacalypse, followed two years later by Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z… Then on 1995’s Me Against the World, Tupac wrote an endearing tribute to his mother Afeni Shakur, a former political activist who had been jailed while pregnant with him in 1971.
Tupac released his fourth and final album in 1996 – the year he was killed. All Eyez on Me was another hit for the the rapper; nearly two decades later, the same title was also given to a biopic that charted his colorful but short life. The late rapper has stayed in the headlines in recent years, too, with a BBC Radio 4 documentary Tupac Shakur, Hip-Hop Immortal broadcast in 2014 – 18 years after his death. In the program, poet Al Letson said that despite Tupac’s brief life, the rapper had “burned like a supernova.”
What’s more, the BBC documentary featured an interview in which Tupac talked about how childhood poverty had affected his life. When asked about Christmas memories, the rap star explained that he had grown up in a poor family in New York. “I felt sorry for my mother,” Tupac said. “There wasn’t even regular dinner, let alone Christmas dinner.”
Meanwhile, following his first album, Tupac made his film debut in Juice, playing a character called Bishop who is drawn into a life of violence. And according to the documentary, it was at this point that Tupac’s own life began to spiral out of control. Trouble erupted, for instance, after a police officer was killed by a man who had reportedly been listening to a Tupac track containing violent, anti-police lyrics.
From this point on, Tupac began finding himself on the wrong side of the law. The rapper had been arrested six times by 1993, with charges relating to firearms incidents and physical violence. He was eventually given a jail term in February 1995 for sexually abusing a fan, as reported by The New York Times.
Another big name on the hip-hop scene at the time that Tupac shot to stardom was Biggie Smalls. Real name Christopher Wallace, Biggie was born in 1972, just a year after Tupac. And the two rappers were friends too – that is, until Tupac was shot in November 1994. That’s because Tupac believed that Biggie was somehow involved in the shooting.
Subsequently, Tupac signed with Death Row Records and by doing so affiliated himself with the Bloods. You see, Suge Knight, the head of the label, was a member of the notorious LA gang. What’s more, Knight had put up more than $1 million in bail money in order to get Tupac out of prison. Now, then, the rapper found himself caught up in a fierce rivalry between the Bloods and the Crips that dated back to the early 1970s.
Meanwhile, Keefe D, the man who has made the startling revelations about the shooting of Tupac, was himself a member of the Crips. And according to William Shaw’s book Westsiders: Stories of Boys in the Hood, it was gang rivalry between the Bloods (Knight) and the Crips (Keefe) that ultimately led to Tupac’s death. Tupac apparently punched Keefe D’s nephew – and fellow Crip – Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson in Las Vegas in the MGM Grand Hotel’s lobby. Shaw reports that Tupac had asked Anderson, “You from the South?” – in effect asking if he was a Crip.
Shaw also claims that Tupac was responding to another confrontation that had taken place weeks before, when a Crip had snatched a necklace from the neck of a rival Blood gang member. The necklace in question had apparently been a present from Suge Knight himself. And in the moments before Anderson was assaulted, Tupac had reportedly been informed that Anderson had been one of the Crips involved. Keefe D picks up the story in the Netflix docuseries Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. There, he explains that he had been part of a group of gangsters who then went out to seek revenge on Tupac just hours after the rapper had punched Anderson.
According to Keefe, Terrence “T-Brown” Brown had apparently been driving a Cadillac, with Keefe alongside him in the front of the car and DeAndre “Dre” Smith and Anderson in the rear seats. In his confession, Keefe claims that he is the “only one alive who can really tell the story about the Tupac killing.” On camera, he also explains that they had almost given up looking for the rapper, saying, “If [Tupac] hadn’t been out the window, we would never have seen him.”
The driver then “bust a U” to get alongside the other car, Keefe says, before adding, “We pulled up, and I was in the front seat.” And Keefe allegedly saw Suge Knight before hearing shots fired. Tupac was hit four times in the chest, arm and thigh at around 11:15 p.m. and passed away almost a week later.
The recent Netflix documentary, meanwhile, focuses on a 2006 follow-up investigation headed by ex-cop Greg Kading. Speaking to the Daily Star in July 2018, Kading stated that no charges were brought because nobody would explicitly name the killer. Kading additionally told the newspaper that he had evidence of the fight between Tupac and Anderson but no proof of what had happened afterwards. And the former lawman added that while he was “excited” that Keefe had made the recent confession in Uncovered, he still wasn’t sure that a prosecution was likely.
But while Keefe gives details of the attack, he doesn’t actually name the killer on screen, telling the interviewer that he’s “keeping with the code from the streets.” Further taped evidence has come to light, however, in which Keefe says that his nephew Anderson was the gunman.
In an interview with The Sun, Keefe sensationally stated that he’d handed the gun used in the shooting to the killer. “I gave it to Dre, and Dre was like, ‘No, no, no,’” Keefe reportedly said. “And Lane [Anderson] was like – popped the dudes.” Keefe later added, “[Anderson] leaned over and rolled down the window and popped them.”
But ex-police detective Kading said that despite this on-camera confession being similar to what Kading himself had previously been told in private, prosecuting Keefe D may still be difficult. Anderson himself was killed in 1998 in a Compton shootout and reportedly had always denied killing Tupac.
It emerged in Unsolved, though, that Anderson had always been the chief suspect when it came to Tupac’s murder. In fact, there were even rumors that he’d bragged about the killing. However, as Kading has pointed out, lack of reliable witnesses meant that Anderson wasn’t even arrested. Kading also revealed that many people in the neighborhood were reportedly saying, “Yeah, it was Orlando,” but that no action could be taken as the people in question hadn’t actually seen the incident first-hand.
Additionally, Kading stated that Suge Knight, who had been driving Tupac on the night that the rapper was shot, had refused to cooperate with the police investigation. The ex-cop also claimed that Knight had known Keefe since childhood and, despite being in opposing gangs, Knight had chosen not to reveal what really had happened that night. Kading added that, in his eyes, Knight is the main reason why the case was never solved.
Kading also told the paper that his investigation team suspected that Knight and an associate called Darnell “Pouchie” Bolton were both involved in the shooting of Biggie Smalls in LA on March 9, 1997, a year after Tupac’s death. The Smalls case is very similar in that, due to gang connections, prosecutions proved to be impossible. And Kading feels that it’s likely that no-one will ever face justice for either of these killings.
Indeed, although there have been reports that Las Vegas Police are planning to arrest Keefe in the wake of his confession, Kading is still not confident that action will be taken. Nonetheless, he believes that what Keefe said in Unsolved was the truth behind the 20-year-old riddle, confirming who’d killed Tupac. “There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever,” Kading stated.