LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Twenty-seven years after the death of rapper Tupac Shakur, a Las Vegas-area grand jury has indicted a man with the icon’s murder, the 8 News Now Investigators confirmed Friday.
“Ultimately, our persistence in this investigation paid off,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jason Johansson said Friday during a news conference.
He said Metro detectives had a lot of information about the crime but didn’t have the necessary evidence until recently to arrest 60-year-old Duane “Keffe D” Davis. A Clark County grand jury voted to indict him on a charge of murder with a deadly weapon with a gang enhancement. Police arrested Davis early Friday near his home, prosecutors said.
Davis wrote a book and did several interviews where he said he was in the car with the person who shot Shakur and record executive Suge Knight near the Las Vegas Strip in September 1996. Shakur died six days later from his injuries.
During the grand jury return hearing on Friday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo said Davis’ public statements implicated him, adding Davis allegedly ordered Shakur’s death.
“Today justice will be served in the murder of Tupac Shakur,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said. “I know a lot of people have been watching and waiting for this day.”
The shooting of Shakur at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane followed a fight earlier in the night. In the hours before the murder, Shakur’s group reportedly attacked Orlando Anderson, a member of a rival gang.
In July, Las Vegas Metro police searched a Henderson home as part of the investigation, the 8 News Now Investigators first reported. The search near Interstate 11 and Wagon Wheel Drive involved documents, personal items and ammunition belonging to Davis.
Police also seized photos and electronics. Neighbors told 8 News Now that a family member of Davis’ lived in the residence, though Davis’ name and the home’s address were written on the warrant.
Videos of the July 17 raid show police talking to two people as they exit the home. The man in the videos appears to be Davis.
Davis has said he and Anderson were in the car that pulled side-by-side to Shakur’s after the fight. Someone in the back seat then fired a gun, Davis said.
Anderson died in a shooting in 1998. Davis has publicly said he is Anderson’s uncle. No one else who was in the shooter’s car, except for Davis, is alive.
Davis made several public statements about the night of the shooting, including in TV interviews and in a 2019 book titled “Compton Street Legend: Notorious Keffe D’s Street-Level Accounts of Tupac and Biggie Murders, Death Row Origins, Suge Knight, Puffy Combs, and Crooked Cops.”
“Tupac made an erratic move and began to reach down beneath his seat,” Davis writes in the book. “It was the first and only time in my life that I could relate to the police command, ‘Keep your hands where I can see them.’ Instead, Pac pulled out a strap, and that’s when the fireworks started. One of my guys from the back seat grabbed the Glock and started bustin’ back.”
“When we pulled up, I was in the front seat,” Davis said in a 2018 BET interview. “Happen to see my friend, Suge.”
“You said the shots came from the back,” the interviewer asks Davis in the BET video. “Who shot Tupac?”
“Going to keep it for the code of the streets,” Davis said. “It just came from the backseat, bro.”
It was unclear Friday why the case was suddenly moving ahead after more than two decades.
“The older your case gets as a prosecutor, the weaker your case gets,” former Clark County prosecutor Thomas Moskal said. “Witnesses, they go missing, they leave, they die, their memories fade. Evidence isn’t preserved. You can’t go back and now start retesting things from the crime scene. if something wasn’t done, it wasn’t done.”
Moskal said he expected prosecutors to use Davis’ own statements against him.
“They have his own statements saying he was there,” Moskal said. “He’s going to have to make the argument that either, ‘I wasn’t there and I lied the whole time’ or ‘I didn’t know what was going on and I lied the whole time.’ But how do you overcome that? Basically, he would have to take that stand and say, ‘I lied before believe me now.’”
Davis refers to himself as “Keffe D” in his book. He is sometimes also referred to as “Keefe D” or “Keefy D.”
There is no statute of limitations for when prosecutors can file murder charges in Nevada. Police have never filed charges in connection with Shakur’s murder.
Davis was being held without bail and was expected to appear in court Wednesday for his arraignment.