Las Vegas police have announced an arrest in the 1996 killing of rapper Tupac Shakur.
Duane “Keffe D” Davis, 60, who has long acknowledged he was in the car that pulled alongside the iconic rapper when he was gunned down, was taken into custody early Friday morning in connection with the shooting death of the rapper, authorities said. He was indicted on charges of murder with the use of a deadly weapon by a Clark County grand jury.
Shakur was gunned down nearly three decades ago while riding in a BMW driven by Marion “Suge” Knight. Knight, then-owner of Shakur’s record label, was leading a procession of luxury vehicles past the MGM Grand Hotel and Caesars Palace on their way to a new nightclub.
It was after 11 p.m. that Saturday when the BMW stopped at Flamingo Road and Koval Lane, a block from the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said. Shakur was flirting with women in a nearby car, unaware that a white Cadillac had pulled alongside the BMW. A gunman inside the Cadillac reached out and pointed a semiautomatic pistol straight at Shakur, according to police and court records.
Four bullets struck Shakur and another grazed Knight, authorities said. Shakur died from his injuries six days later on Sept. 13. He was 25.
Despite numerous investigations by Las Vegas and Los Angeles police as well as federal law enforcement agencies, no one had been arrested in the killing.
Davis had previously described his activities in the South Side Compton Crips gang and said he was inside the white Cadillac that Shakur’s killer fired from.
In his book, “Compton Street Legend,” Davis detailed those experiences and said he hid the Cadillac and gun after the shooting and had the vehicle repaired and repainted before returning it to a rental car company.
He also said he is the uncle of Orlando Anderson, another Crips member who also was in the Cadillac along with two other men – Terrence Brown and DeAndre Smith. Anderson was killed in a gang shootout in Compton a year and a half after Shakur’s death. Brown was found shot to death in Compton in September 2015. Smith also has since died.
Las Vegas police previously investigated Anderson in connection with Shakur’s slaying. He was identified as having been involved in a physical altercation with Knight, Shakur and his bodyguards on the night of the fatal shooting.
Like Davis, Anderson was a member of the South Side Crips, authorities said. Shakur and Knight were affiliated with a rival Compton gang, the Mob Piru Bloods; Shakur’s bodyguards were also members of the Bloods.
Police put renewed interest in Shakur’s shooting in recent months. Prosecutors have been presenting evidence to a Clark County grand jury, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
Police searched Davis’ home in Henderson, Nevada, in July using a warrant that allowed them to seize materials they said were connected to the shooting, according to the warrant approved by Clark County Judge Jacqueline M. Bluth.
Among the evidence seized were .40-caliber cartridges, computers, photos and other materials, records show. The judge also authorized investigators to seize any items that could tie Davis to the South Side Crips, according to the warrant.
Nevada does not have a statute of limitations for prosecuting homicide cases and can, under certain circumstances, hold responsible those in a getaway vehicle even though they did not pull the trigger.
Shakur’s death – and that of New York rival Notorious B.I.G., who was slain in Los Angeles six months after Shakur – has long been the subject of conspiracy theories and a slew of documentaries, including USA Network’s “Unsolved,” A&E’s “Who Killed Tupac?” and the 2015 movie “Murder Rap: Inside the Biggie and Tupac Murders.”
Earlier this year, Shakur received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was previously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, his first year of eligibility.
(Los Angeles Times staff writer Kenan Draughorne contributed to this report.)