27 YEARS AGO, when rapper Tupac Shakur was murdered in a drive-by shooting on September 7, 1996, the world was in such a state of shock that they refused to believe he was really gone.
The 25-year-old had become such a presence in the world despite his young age, with songs like “Changes” and “All Eyez on Me” achieving widespread acclaim, that people couldn’t grasp his loss. A million conspiracy theories were born in the wake of his passing, each one — no matter how far-fetched — somehow an easier pill to swallow than the bitter truth of his death.
Perhaps one of the reasons it’s been so easy to lean into the conspiracies is because of the lack of clarity or closure around his death. Las Vegas police have previously stated that the investigation stalled because of witnesses refusing to cooperate, and so no arrests were ever made, and the case went cold, driving conspiracies ever wilder.
But now, nearly three decades on from the tragedy, Nevada police have seemingly returned to the case.
On Tuesday, July 18 (local time), the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said that a day earlier, they had executed a search warrant for a house in Henderson, a city near Las Vegas, in connection with Shakur’s killing. Police haven’t given any further information regarding the owner of the house, what they were searching for, or what propelled them to issue the warrant, citing the “open investigation” as a reason for not being able to offer further details.
A neighbour who lives on the same street where the warrant was served on Monday night said they saw police emerge from patrol cars with guns drawn, yelling at the house’s occupants to come outside unarmed with their hands up. While the occupants complied, the neighbour said it didn’t seem as if anyone was arrested.
There’s no statue of limitations for prosecuting homicide cases in the state of Nevada, which means that if evidence is finally found regarding Shakur’s death, legal proceedings could still be initiated.
“The search warrant that we conducted is in connection with the Tupac Shakur case,” Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jason Johansson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He acknowledged that “it has been a while” since the shooting, adding: “It’s a case that’s gone unsolved and hopefully one day we can change that.”
How did Tupac Shakur die?
On September 7, 1996, Shakur was in a black BMW with Marion ‘Suge’ Knight, the controversial head of the equally controversial Death Row Records, after leaving the Mike Tyson v. Bruce Seldon fight at the MGM Grand.
Shakur and Knight were waiting at a red light near the Las Vegas Strip when a white Cadillac pulled up beside them and someone inside opened fire. Struck four times by the bullets, Shakur was rushed to hospital, where he died six days later on September 13.
Who killed Tupac?
Tupac Shakur’s killer has never been identified or charged by police, though there have been suspects — the primary of which is Orlando Anderson, a known member of the notorious gang the Crips, who Shakur had gotten into a fight with while leaving the MGM Grand on the night of his fatal shooting.
Per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the same type of gun that had been used in the shooting was found in a duffel bag with a Las Vegas mailing address inside it, in the backyard of one of Anderson’s close friend’s girlfriends. Later, during an investigation into drug charges, Anderson’s uncle Duane Keith Davis implicated his nephew. He confessed to his role in the killing in 2018.
Anderson was only interviewed once by Las Vegas police and was dismissed as a suspect. He was killed in 1998 in an unrelated gang shooting.
Another popular theory is that the gun used to kill Shakur was in fact supplied by New York rapper Notorious B.I.G. (AKA Biggie). The pair had been feuding — very publicly — for over a year. Per the Los Angeles Times, it’s been alleged that Biggie paid the Crips USD$1 million for Shakur’s murder.
Six months after Shakur’s death, Biggie himself was gunned down in Los Angeles, in another unsolved homicide.