Rap legend Tupac Shakur's family ‘pleased’ as one last living witnesses is charged with his 1996 murder

Tupac Shakur in a scene from the film 'Gridlock'd', 1997. (Photo by Gramercy Pictures/Getty Images)Tupac Shakur in a scene from the film 'Gridlock'd', 1997. (Photo by Gramercy Pictures/Getty Images)
Tupac Shakur in a scene from the film 'Gridlock'd', 1997. (Photo by Gramercy Pictures/Getty Images) | Getty Images
One of last surviving witnesses appears in court charged with murder, as district attorney says: "For a long time, this community and worldwide have been wanting justice for Tupac"

The family of Tupac Shakur are “pleased” that a man has been charged with his murder following his 1996 drive-by shooting, a Las Vegas district attorney said.

Duane “Keffe D” Davis, one of the last living witnesses to the drive-by shooting, was arrested on a walk near his home in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson on Friday.

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He was then charged by a Nevada grand jury with one count of open murder with use of the deadly weapon with a gang enhancement, according to Clark County Las Vegas district attorney Steve Wolfson.

During a press conference, Mr Wolfson said: “The family has reached out to my office, I imagine also to (police), we’ve been in communication with them.

“We understand that they are welcoming this news, they are pleased with this news and they are certainly aware of the return of this indictment.”

He described Shakur as a “musical legend” before adding: “For a long time, this community and worldwide have been wanting justice for Tupac.

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“Today we are taking that first step. Tupac was actually quoted as saying ‘Death is not the greatest loss in life, the greatest loss is what dies inside while still alive’. Never surrender. Well, we didn’t surrender thanks to the great work of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

“This is the indictment we’ve been waiting almost three decades for. It spells out the facts and circumstances and what justifies a Clark County grand jury in returning an indictment and justice will be served.”

He also said: “Davis will appear in court in the next few days or so for a hearing to determine his custody status and to set a jury trial date.”

Shakur was 25 when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting near the Las Vegas Strip on the night of September 7 1996.

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A documentary, called Last Man Standing: Suge Knight And The Murders Of Biggie & Tupac, explored the deaths of both rappers, and the life of Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight, who was driving the BMW when Shakur died.

Its director Nick Broomfield told the PA news agency: “It’s weird the police took so long as Keffe D admitted it several years ago.

“He admitted he was in the murder car and gave an interview going into the shooting of Tupac in great detail.”

In 2018, after a cancer diagnosis, Davis said publicly in an interview for a BET show that he was inside the Cadillac – which pulled up next to Shakur – during the attack.

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He implicated his nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, saying he was one of two people in the back seat where the shots were fired, according to the Associated Press news agency.

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.

The timeline of the shooting was also detailed by Las Vegas police lieutenant Jason Johansson.

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He said that Tupac and Knight were on their way to a nightclub when word spread among members of the South Side Compton Crips that members of Death Row Records had “kicked and punched” Orlando Anderson inside the MGM earlier.

Davis “began to devise a plan to obtain a firearm and retaliate”, he added.

The officer said: “After Davis obtained a gun, he entered into a white Cadillac along with Terrence Brown, DeAndre Smith and Orlando Anderson.”

He added: “At some point in time, as they were in the white Cadillac, Mr Davis took the gun that he had obtained and provided it to the passengers in the rear seat of the vehicle.”

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The officer said they located the black BMW which was driven by Suge Knight and in the passenger seat was Tupac.

He said: “And as they turned around, they pulled up near the passenger side of that vehicle and immediately began shooting at Mr Knight and Mr Shakur.”

The officer said the white Cadillac fled the area and Tupac was taken to hospital where he died six days later.

Mr Johansson said the case was “reinvigorated” in 2018 and police “knew most of the information” within the first few months of Shakur’s shooting, but did not have the “necessary evidence” to bring criminal charges.

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He also said: “Duane Davis’s own admissions to his involvement in this homicide investigation that he provided to numerous different media outlets.

“In our section (homicide), we knew at this time that this was likely our last time to take a run at this case, to successfully solve this case and bring forth a criminal charge.”

Asked if anyone else was being “looked at as part of the investigation”, the officer replied: “The only living suspect related to this investigation is Duane Davis, all other three suspects are deceased.”