The first arrest in the 1996 death of Tupac Shakur came Friday with the murder indictment of Duane “Keffe D” Davis, one of the last living witnesses to the Las Vegas drive-by shooting of the hip-hop superstar. Here’s a look at the hours that led up to the fatal gunfire.
Tupac, Suge and the Tyson fight in Vegas
On the afternoon of September 7, 1996, Shakur and Suge Knight, the head of his music label, Death Row Records, arrived in Las Vegas along with an entourage that included Shakur’s fiancee, Kidada Jones, along with his cousins and friends, to watch a heavyweight title fight between Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon.
Rapper Tupac Shakur, left, and Death Row Records Chairman Marion Suge Knight attend a voter registration event in South Central Los Angeles on August 15, 1996. Photo / AP)
At about 8.30pm, Shakur and Knight took their front-row seats at the fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Shortly afterward the fight began. It would end less than two minutes later, with Tyson winning in a first-round knockout and taking Seldon’s WBA Heavyweight title.
The fight’s aftermath and another fight
At about 8.40pm, moments after the fight ended, Shakur and Tyson, who were friends, hugged in celebration just off the arena floor.
After-party plans, and getting a gun
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From about 9pm to 11pm, the exact timing of Shakur’s night is less clear, but he was eventually bound to make a late appearance, along with Tyson and Knight, at Club 662, which Knight owned. Members of the Death Row entourage leaving the MGM Grand made a stop at the nearby Luxor Hotel and Casino, where Jones was staying, then stopped at a Las Vegas house Knight owned.
Davis, meanwhile, would spend this time getting a gun to be used to retaliate for the casino fight, police alleged at a news conference on Friday.
A black BMW, a white Cadillac and gunfire
At around 11pm, Shakur was riding in the passenger seat of a black BMW that Knight was driving near the Las Vegas Strip, and they were pulled over by police for playing music too loud and not properly displaying license plates. Shakur and Knight joked with the officers, the license plates were found in the trunk and they did not get a ticket.
Duane "Keffe D" Davis was charged in the 1996 fatal drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur. Photo / AP
At about 11.15pm, the BMW paused at a stoplight at Flamingo Road and Koval Lane, a block from the Strip.
“We were on our way to Club 662,” Malcolm Greenidge, a lifelong friend of Shakur who had travelled to Las Vegas with him and was riding in a car behind the BMW, told the grand jury that indicted Davis. “Some women drove up on the passenger side. Mr Shakur began talking to the women. We couldn’t really hear what he was saying. We assumed he was probably inviting them to the club.”
A white Cadillac quietly pulled up alongside. Davis has said in interviews and wrote in his 2019 memoir that he was one of the men in the car. Police said at Friday’s news conference that he was sitting in the passenger seat and handed the gun he’d obtained to one of the men in the back.
“After the ladies pull off, another car pulled up beside Mr Shakur and Mr Knight and an arm came out of the back window and began shooting,” Greenidge told the grand jury.
The shooter fired more than a dozen rounds. Shakur was hit with four bullets, two of them to his chest. Knight was grazed in the head by a bullet fragment but had only minor injuries. Knight is now serving a 28-year sentence for manslaughter in an unrelated California case.
At about 11.20pm, police and paramedics arrived, and Shakur was taken to University Medical Center.
In the days that followed, Shakur would have a lung removed and remain on a respirator in intensive care. He died six days later, on September 13. He was 25 years old.
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