A man has been indicted on murder charges in connection to the drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur in 1996, a long-awaited breakthrough in a case that has frustrated investigators and fascinated the public.
A Nevada grand jury indicted Duane “Keffe D” Davis on one count of murder with a deadly weapon, Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo announced in court Friday.
The charges were revealed hours after Mr Davis, 60, was arrested on Friday morning while on a walk near his home in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, according to Mr DiGiacomo.
Mr Davis was denied bail by Clark County District Judge Jerry Wiese.
He is the uncle of Orlando Anderson - one of Tupac’s known rivals - who authorities have long suspected in the rapper’s death.
At a press conference in Las Vegas, police said Shakur’s family have been waiting 27 years for justice.
“We are here today to announce the arrest of 60-year-old Duane Keith Davis, aka “Keffe D” for the murder of Tupac Shakur,” an officer said.
“Davis was arrested this morning by my criminal apprehension team and this investigation started on the night of September 7 1996. It is far from over.”
He added that it has taken “countless hours, really decades of work to get to where we are today”.
He said: “Well, I know there’s been many people who did not believe that the murder of Tupac Shakur was important to this police department. I’m here to tell you, that was simply not the case. It was not the case back then. And it is not the case today.
“Our goal at LVMPD has always been to hold those accountable and responsible for Tupac’s violent murder accountable, just like we do for every homicide victim in our city. Every single victim. Every life that is lost is important. And remains a priority to this police department.”
The officer added that “Mr Davis’s own words reinvigorated our case in 2018”.
Officer Jason Johansson said: “Prior to September 7 of 1996, as we all know, Tupac Shakur was an artist who was signed with Death Row Records and that Death Row Records and its CEO Marion ‘Suge’ Knight were closely affiliated with the Mob Piru criminal street gang, and that they had an ongoing feud with the South Side Compton Crips.
“Duane Davis was the leader and shot caller, of the South Side Compton Crips. And both of these gangs operated out of the Southern California area of Compton. On the night of September 7 1996, Tupac Shakur, along with Suge Knight, and members of their entourage which include members of Mob Piru, came to Vegas to attend the Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“Members of the South Side Compton Crips, which included Duane Davis, along with his nephew Orlando Anderson, were also in attendance at the same event. As both were leaving the fight, members of Death Row Records spotted Orlando Anderson near an elevator bay bank inside the MGM, a time they begin to kick and punch him near that elevator bank.”
Hotel security footage was then played related to the incident, showing Shakur and Marion Suge Knight “punching and kicking Orlando Anderson” before security intervened.
Mr Davis has long been known to investigators and has himself admitted in interviews and in his 2019 tell-all memoir, Compton Street Legend, that he was in the Cadillac where the gunfire erupted during the September 1996 drive-by shooting. Shakur was 25 when he was gunned down.
The arrest comes two months after Las Vegas police raided his wife’s home in neighbouring Henderson. Documents said police were looking for items “concerning the murder of Tupac Shakur”.
Police reported collecting multiple computers, a cellphone and a hard drive, a Vibe magazine that featured Shakur, several .40-calibre bullets, two “tubs containing photographs” and a copy of Mr Davis’ 2019 tell-all memoir.
In the book, Mr Davis said he broke his silence over Tupac’s killing in 2010 during a closed-door meeting with federal and local authorities. At the time, he was 46 and facing life in prison on drug charges when he agreed to speak with the authorities.
“They promised they would shred the indictment and stop the grand jury if I helped them out,” he wrote.
He has described himself as one of the last living witnesses to the shooting.
Shakur was gunned down in a drive-by shooting near the Las Vegas Strip on the night of September 7, 1996. The rapper was in a BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight in a convoy of about 10 cars. They were waiting at a red light when a white Cadillac pulled up next to them and gunfire erupted.
Shakur was shot multiple times and died a week later.