Las Vegas Police arrest and charge lone surviving suspect in 1996 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur

September 30, 2023
Ben Marquis

In 1996, legendary rapper Tupac Shakur was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, following a dispute with gang members in an incident that likely led to other retaliatory murders and fueled the East Coast-West Coast hip-hop feud for years to come.

Now 27 years later, police have finally arrested and charged with murder the sole surviving suspect from that incident, Duane "Keffe D" Davis, 60, of Henderson, Nevada, Fox News reported.

The arrest and unveiling of a grand jury indictment against Davis followed the execution of a search warrant on the home of Davis and his wife in July, during which law enforcement seized an assortment of electronic devices, papers, photographs, a tell-all memoir Davis had written, and other items believed to be incriminating evidence linking him to Shakur's death.

Davis was the "shot caller" who orchestrated the murder

CBS News reported that Las Vegas Sheriff Kevin McMahill said during a press conference about the development in the decades-long investigation, "Many people who did not believe the murder of Tupac Shakur was important to this police department, I am here to tell you: That was simply not the case."

He and others explained how Davis, who will appear in court in the coming days on a single count of "open murder use of a deadly weapon with a gang enhancement," had long been a primary suspect and how the case was built against him over time, including by way of Davis' own admissions in recent years in interviews and his book.

The outlet shared how Davis rose to become the "shot caller" leader of the South Side Compton Crips gang and managed the group's multi-million dollar nationwide drug trade, as well as how he became a "hardened gangster" while serving time in the 1980s for drug dealing.

Hotel lobby fight led to fatal retaliatory shooting

CBS also detailed what was known of that fatal night in 1996 when Shakur and other associates were in Las Vegas to attend a Mike Tyson boxing match but got into a physical altercation with Orlando Anderson, Davis' nephew and a member of the gang.

When Davis learned what had happened, he obtained a gun from an associate and gathered together Anderson and fellow gang members Terrance Brown and Deandre Smith -- all three of whom have since died -- to go seek revenge.

Packed into a white Cadillac, they pulled up alongside the vehicle Shakur was riding in at a stoplight, a black BMW driven by Death Row Records co-founder and CEO Marion "Suge" Knight, and opened fire from the backseat, killing Shakur and causing minor injuries to Knight.

Davis incriminated himself in the crime

The Associated Press reported that while Davis isn't alleged to have fired the actual shots that killed Shakur, Nevada law allows for murder charges against accomplices to such crimes, and Las Vegas Police homicide Lt. Jason Johansson told reporters, "Duane Davis was the shot caller for this group of individuals that committed this crime and he orchestrated the plan that was carried out."

A retired Los Angeles Police detective who spent years investigating the deadly shooting, Greg Kading, told the AP that Davis had essentially incriminated himself in the murder by way of his tell-all book and media interviews, and said, "He put himself squarely in the middle of the conspiracy" and provided Las Vegas police with "the ammunition and leverage to move forward."

"All the other direct conspirators or participants are all dead," the former detective added. "Keefe D is the last man standing among the individuals that conspired to kill Tupac."

Shakur's sister proclaims arrest a "pivotal moment"

The AP noted that following the arrest and charging of Davis, Shakur's sister, Sekyiwa "Set" Shakur, issued a celebratory statement and said, "This is no doubt a pivotal moment. The silence of the past 27 years surrounding this case has spoken loudly in our community."

"It’s important to me that the world, the country, the justice system, and our people acknowledge the gravity of the passing of this man, my brother, my mother’s son, my father’s son," added the sister of the legendary slain rapper, who remains among the most influential hip-hop artists of all-time nearly three decades later.

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