This page is dedicated to the murder of Tupac...
September 1996 shooting and death
The famous photograph of Shakur taken just twenty minutes before the drive-by shooting, from the cover of the book The Killing of Tupac Shakur by Cathy Scott
On the night of September 7, 1996, Shakur attended the Mike Tyson–Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After leaving the match, one of Suge's associates spotted 21-year-old Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, a member of the Southside Crips, in the MGM Grand lobby and informed Shakur, who then attacked Anderson. Shakur's entourage, as well as Suge and his followers, assisted in assaulting Anderson. The fight was captured on the hotel's video surveillance. Earlier that year, Anderson and a group of Crips had robbed a member of Death Row's entourage in a Foot Locker store, precipitating Shakur's attack. After the brawl, Shakur went to rendezvous with Suge to go to Death Row-owned Club 662 (now known as restaurant/club Seven). He rode in Suge's 1996 black BMW 750iL sedan as part of a larger convoy including many in Shakur's entourage.
At 10:55 pm, while paused at a red light, Shakur rolled down his window and a photographer took his photograph. At around 11:00–11:05 pm, they were halted on Las Vegas Blvd. by Metro bicycle police for playing the car stereo too loud and not having license plates. The plates were then found in the trunk of Suge's car; they were released without being fined a few minutes later. At about 11:10 pm, while stopped at a red light at Flamingo Road near the intersection of Koval Lane in front of the Maxim Hotel, a vehicle occupied by two women pulled up on their left side. Shakur, who was standing up through the sunroof, exchanged words with the two women, and invited them to go to Club 662. At approximately 11:15 pm, a white, four-door, late-model Cadillac with an unknown number of occupants pulled up to the sedan's right side, rolled down one of the windows, and rapidly fired a volley of gunshots at Shakur; bullets hit him in the chest, pelvis, and his right hand and thigh. One of the rounds apparently ricocheted into Shakur's right lung. Suge was hit in the head by fragmentation, though it is thought that a bullet grazed him. According to Suge, a bullet from the gunfire had been lodged in his skull, but medical reports later contradicted this statement.
At the time of the drive-by Shakur's bodyguard was following behind in a vehicle belonging to Kidada Jones, Shakur's then-fiancée. The bodyguard, Frank Alexander, stated that when he was about to ride along with the rapper in Suge's car, Shakur asked him to drive Kidada Jones' car instead just in case they were too drunk and needed additional vehicles from Club 662 back to the hotel. The bodyguard reported in his documentary, Before I Wake, that shortly after the assault, one of the convoy's cars drove off after the assailant but he never heard back from the occupants.
After arriving on the scene, police and paramedics took Suge and a mortally wounded Shakur to the University Medical Center. According to an interview with one of Shakur's closest friends the music video director Gobi, while at the hospital, he received news from a Death Row marketing employee that the shooters had called the record label and were sending death threats aimed at Shakur, claiming that they were going there to "finish him off". Upon hearing this, Gobi immediately alerted the Las Vegas police, but the police claimed they were understaffed and no one could be sent. Nonetheless, the shooters never arrived. At the hospital, Shakur was in and out of consciousness, was heavily sedated, breathed through a ventilator and respirator, was placed on life support machines, and was ultimately put under a barbiturate-induced coma after repeatedly trying to get out of the bed.
Despite having been resuscitated in a trauma center and surviving a multitude of surgeries (as well as the removal of a failed right lung), Shakur had gotten through the critical phase of the medical therapy and was given a 50% chance of pulling through. Gobi left the medical center after being informed that Shakur made a 13% recovery on the sixth night. While in the critical care unit on the afternoon of September 13, 1996, Shakur died of internal bleeding; doctors attempted to revive him but could not impede his hemorrhaging. His mother, Afeni, made the decision to tell the doctors to stop. He was pronounced dead at 4:03 pm (PDT) The official cause of death was noted as respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wounds. Shakur's body was cremated.
Due largely to a perceived lack of progress by law enforcement in the investigation of Shakur's murder, many independent investigations and theories emerged. Because of the acrimony between Shakur and Biggie (who was murdered in March 1997), there was speculation from the outset about the possibility of Biggie's involvement. Biggie, as well as his family, relatives, and associates, vehemently denied all such accusations. In 2002, the LA Times published a story by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Chuck Philips, who claimed to have uncovered evidence implicating Biggie, in addition to Anderson and the Southside Crips, in the attack. Philips quoted unnamed gang-member sources who claimed Biggie had ties to the Crips, often hiring them for security during West Coast appearances, and that Biggie colluded with the Crips to murder Shakur. In 2008, after The Smoking Gun reported that the documents relied upon by Philips for his story were fraudulent, the LA Times printed an official front-page retraction of Philipses story. Less than five months later, Philips accepted a buyout and left the LA Times.
In support of their claims, Biggie's family submitted documentation to MTV suggesting that he was working in a New York recording studio the night of the drive-by shooting. His manager Wayne Barrow and fellow rapper James "Lil' Cease" Lloyd made public announcements denying Biggie's partaking in the crime and claimed further that they were both with him in the recording studio during the night of the event.
The high profile nature of the killing and ensuing gang violence caught the attention of English filmmaker Nick Broomfield, who made the documentary film Biggie & Tupac which examines the lack of progress in the case by speaking to those close to the two slain rappers and the investigation. Shakur's close childhood friend and member of Outlawz, Yafeu "Yaki Kadafi" Fula, was in the convoy when the drive-by occurred and indicated to police that he might be able to identify the assailants, however, he was shot and killed shortly thereafter in a housing project in Irvington, N.J..
A DVD titled Tupac: Assassination was released on October 23, 2007, more than eleven years after Shakur's murder. It explores aspects surrounding the event and provides fresh insights into the cold case with new details about the incident.