Tupac Shakur’s Murder Case: Everything We Know About the Arrest & Rapper’s Death

Duane 'Keffe D' Davis was indicted on one count of murder, and he now awaits trial in June. Here's everything you need to know about the case.

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Tupac Shakur has remained one of the most famous and important rappers of all-time, even nearly 30 years after his death. The “California Love” rapper rose to fame in the early 90s, performing under the name 2pac (and occasionally Makaveli). Records like All Eyez on Me and Me Against the World are considered classics, and he continues to inspire young artists to this day. Tupac was shot in a drive-by shooting on the Las Vegas Strip on September 7, 1996. He died of his injuries on September 13.

For many years, Tupac’s death was shrouded in mystery. While many theories had arisen, no arrests had been made in connection with the shooting, despite a long investigation. In September 2023, Duane “Keffe D” Davis was arrested on suspicions of involvement in the murder. He was charged in the killing of Tupac in January 2024, per The Associated Press.  The trial will begin in June. Here’s everything you need to know about the arrest and Tupac’s murder.

Tupac is still widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all-time. (DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock)

Suspect Arrested in Las Vegas

Over 27 years after the shooting, Las Vegas police arrested a suspect and took many items from his home on Friday, September 29, 2023. The man was later revealed to be Duane “Keffe D” Davis, 60, who was indicted on one count of murder with a deadly weapon, per The Associated Press. Duane had long been a subject of investigation, and he had claimed to be a witness to the rapper’s murder. He claimed to be in the Cadillac in the shooting in his memoir Compton Street Legend. 

Duane was charged with one count of murder in January 2024. A Nevada judge set his bail at $750,000 and said that the former gang member could serve house arrest with an electronic monitoring device as he awaits trial. The murder trial is set to begin in June 2024.

Tupac’s 1996 Murder

Tupac was killed in 1996 as the East Coast-West Coast hip-hop rivalry was heating up. Tupac was the most famous rapper on the West Coast end, while New York’s Notorious B.I.G. (whose real name was Christopher Wallace) was the most notable on the East Coast. He was killed after leaving a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand in Vegas with Death Row Records head Suge Knight. Earlier in the evening, Pac had gotten into a scuffle with South Side Compton Crips member Orlando Anderson. 

After the boxing match, Tupac was riding with Suge in his BMW, when a white four-door Cadillac pulled up beside them. The shooter shot into Tupac’s car from the backseat and then drove off. The rapper was hit four times. Suge and Tupac were transported to University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. While Suge was able to leave the hospital the next day, Pac died of respiratory failure on September 13.

Former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sergeant Chris Carroll claimed that he was in the rapper’s hospital room during his final moments in a 2014 interview with Vegas Seven. He said that he asked him to identify who had shot him in his last words, but Pac wouldn’t tell him. “He looked at me, and he took a breath to get the words out, and he opened his mouth,” he said. “And then the words came out: ‘F**k you.’”

The Decades-long Investigation

After Pac’s death, there had long been many theories and deep dives into who had killed him. An investigative Los Angeles Time piece called “Who Killed Tupac Shakur?” was released in September 2002. The story said that a member of the Southside Compton Crips were responsible for Tupac’s murder. Orlando Anderson was a suspect for long. Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur had also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the gang member, but he had also filed a lawsuit seeking damages for his fight with Tupac earlier that night. He had denied being responsible for the murder. He was killed in a gang shootout in 1998, hours after settling the lawsuit.

B.I.G. had also been suspected to be involved in the rapper’s death, with many people looking into the New York rapper’s involvement and rivalry with him. He denied that he was involved in his murder. Biggie was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 8, 1997. He was 24. While the 2002 LA Times report had claimed that Biggie had offered the Southside Crips $1 million to kill Tupac, his family later showed invoices indicating that he was in the studio the night that Pac was killed.

There had been an FBI investigation into Tupac’s murder. Many people had brought suspicions and claimed to be witnesses of the murder over the years. Suge had also openly spoke about the murder, saying that he may have been the intended target of the shooting in 2017, per The Daily Beast. Duane had claimed to be in the car when Tupac was shot in a 2018 USA Network Unsolved documentary.

Many people close to the rapper had also expressed disappointment with the lack of leads in the case. Tupac’s Outlawz collaborator E.D.I. Mean showed some skepticism in the investigation in a 2014 Rolling Stone interview. “Law enforcement around the country weren’t big Tupac fans,” he said. “I’m absolutely positive they know what happened. This is America. We found [Osama] Bin Laden.”