A Las Vegas man was arrested and charged Friday in connection to the fatal drive-by shooting of Tupac Shakur in 1996. Duane “Keffe D” Davis was arrested Friday morning. He has officially been charged with murder with use of a deadly weapon.
A Nevada grand jury indicted Davis in the killing, prosecutors announced in court Friday. Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo called Davis the “on-ground, on-site commander” who “ordered the death” of Shakur.
Back in July, Las Vegas police revealed that they had searched Davis’ home in connection with the investigation of Shakur’s murder. Though the police said the warrant was “part of the ongoing Tupac Shakur homicide investigation,” they declined to offer any further details at the time.
According to a warrant obtained by NBC at the time, authorities searched Davis’ home, specifically looking at desktops and other electronic storage devices, including thumb drives, CDs, external hard drives, and audio recordings. The warrant reportedly uncovered a Pokeball USB drive, a black iPhone, two iPads, and a purple Toshiba laptop, among other items. The AP said it has made attempts to reach Davis, a former gang member, since the warrant but received no response. It’s also unclear if he has an attorney.
The search warrant served in Henderson, Nevada, was arguably the biggest development in the unsolved homicide in years. Though numerous investigations, books, and pretty wild conspiracy theories have sprouted up over the years, the LVMPD appeared to make little public progress in solving the case.
Following the search warrant, retired Los Angeles police detective Greg Kading told the Associated Press that it was Keffe D’s own book that would likely, finally, result in charges in the 1996 murder. “It’s those events that have given Las Vegas the ammunition and the leverage to move forward,” Kading said. “Prior to Keffe D’s public declarations, the cases were unprosecutable as they stood.”
Davis has long said that he was at the scene of the crime, sitting in the front seat of the car involved in the drive-by shooting. Now, Davis is the suspect arrested. One of the last times the case garnered a public statement from the LVMPD was in 2018 after Davis, claimed on an episode of BET’s Death Row Chronicles that he knew who killed Shakur. “Going to keep it for the code of the streets,” Davis said at the time. “It just came from the backseat, bro.”
Davis didn’t reveal any names; he also did not deny that Orlando Anderson — his late nephew — could have been the killer. He later wrote about it in his 2019 tell-all memoir, Compton Street Legend.
“Tupac made an erratic move and began to reach down beneath his seat,” Davis wrote in the book. “It was the first and only time in my life that I could relate to the police command, ‘Keep your hands where I can see them.’ Instead, Pac pulled out a strap, and that’s when the fireworks started. One of my guys from the back seat grabbed the Glock and started bustin’ back.”
The revelations in the memoir — coupled with the many interviews Davis conducted following the book’s publication that further implicated his role in the shooting — presumably resulted in Las Vegas police revisiting the case this past summer.
Davis has long claimed that he was not one of the shooters, instead saying his cousin Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson was the one who killed Shakur; Anderson — who was named as the main suspect in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur — was killed two years later, in 1998, in a gang-related shooting in Compton.
Davis’ other two alleged associates in his car on the night of the shooting — Terrence “Bubble Up” Brown and DeAndre “Freaky” Smith — are also dead: Brown was shot and killed in Los Angeles in 2015, while Davis has claimed that Smith is also dead, making him the last living witness besides Knight.
Tupac was shot on Sept. 7, 1996, in Las Vegas while en route to a nightclub with Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight following a Mike Tyson fight. While Knight and Shakur’s car was idling at a stoplight, a white Cadillac pulled up next to their vehicle on the passenger side, and an unidentified gunman fired 14 shots. Shakur was hit four times and died several days later, on Sept. 13, 1996.
While no arrests were ever made, Anderson was identified as an early suspect. He was an alleged Crips gang member with whom Shakur had a run-in earlier that night after the boxing match. Members of the entourage following Knight and Shakur’s car even told police that Anderson fired the shots. Anderson, however, was eventually killed in 1998 in an unrelated gang shooting, and no other leads emerged.
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