Prosecutors accuse Duane “Keffe D” Davis of being the mastermind behind the 1996 Las Vegas shooting that resulted in the death of 25-year-old Tupac Shakur.
The suspect in the 27-year-old killing of US rap legend Tupac Shakur makes his first appearance before a Las Vegas court on Wednesday (4 October), in a case that could close the chapter on one of hip-hop’s most enduring mysteries.
A self-described gangster, Duane “Keffe D” Davis is accused of being the mastermind behind Tupac’s murder on 7 September 1996. The 60 year old was arrested at his home on Friday, after police raided his home over the summer.
Davis had always been a suspect in Tupac’s shooting, but authorities revived the cold case after Davis publicly admitted his role in the killing in interviews ahead of his 2019 tell-all memoir, “Compton Street Legend.”
“There’s one thing that’s for sure when living that gangster lifestyle,” he wrote. “You already know that the stuff you put out is going to come back; you never know how or when, but there’s never a doubt that it’s coming.”
Grand jurors in the state of Nevada voted to add sentencing enhancements to his murder chrages for the use of a deadly weapon and alleged gang activity. If Davis is convicted, that could add decades to his sentence.
East vs West rivalry
Prosecutors allege the fatal shooting stemmed from a rivalry and competition for dominance in the musical genre dubbed “gangsta rap”.
The “East vs. West” rivalry pitted members of a Bloods gang sect on the East Coast of the US - associated with rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight - against West Coast members of a Crips sect that Davis said he led in Compton, California.
The tension came to a head in Las Vegas the night Tupac was killed, after the rapper brawled with Davis’ nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, at the MGM Grand hotel-casino.
Tupac left the casino with Knight, in the front seat of the Death Row Records founder’s BMW. When the car stopped at a red light, a white Cadillac pulled up on the passenger side and shots were fired. A week later, 25-year-old Shakur died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Davis has said he was in the front passenger seat of the Cadillac, and that he handed a .40-caliber handgun to his nephew in the back seat, from where he says the shots came from.
In Nevada, a person can be convicted of murder for helping another person commit the crime.
Of the four people in the Cadillac that night, Davis is the only one who is still alive. Knight, now 58, is serving a 28-year prison sentence for running over and killing a Compton businessman outside a burger stand in January 2015. He told TMZ he would not testify against Davis if asked.
Tupac’s sister, Sekyiwa “Set” Shakur, issued a statement describing Davis’ arrest as a “pivotal moment” in the investigation of her brother’s death, but she didn’t praise investigators, who many accuse of dragging their feet.
“The silence of the past 27 years surrounding this case has spoken loudly in our community,” she said.