Tupac Shakur (aka "2Pac"), a highly successful American hip hop artist, was fatally shot on September 7, 1996, in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was 25 years old. The shooting occurred at 11:15 p.m. Pacific Time, when the car carrying Shakur was stopped at a red light at East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane. Shakur was struck by four .40 caliber rounds fired from a Glock: two in the chest, one in the arm, and one in the thigh.
Tupac Shakur had just attended the Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson boxing match with Marion "Suge" Knight, the head of Death Row Records, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. After leaving the match, one of Knight's associates, Travon "Tray" Lane, a member of the M.O.B. Pirus gang based in Compton, California, spotted Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, from the rival Southside Crips gang, in the MGM Grand lobby and a brawl ensued. This clip highlights the events as they unfolded that night leading up to the shooting:
After the brawl, Shakur went with Knight to Club 662 (since closed), which was owned by Knight. Shakur disclosed to girlfriend Kidada Jones his involvement in the Anderson fight, previously having promised to return to her after entering the MGM Grand and having her stay in a vehicle. Shakur left with Knight after changing clothes.
At 11:00–11:05 p.m. (PDT), Shakur and Knight were halted on Las Vegas Boulevard by officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Bike Patrol for playing the car stereo too loudly and not having license plates, which were in the trunk of Knight's car. They were released a few minutes later without being cited. At 11:10 p.m. (PDT), while they were stopped at a red light at the intersection of East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in front of the Maxim Hotel, a vehicle occupied by two women pulled up on their left side. Shakur, who was talking through the window of his BMW sedan, exchanged words with the two women, and invited them to go to Club 662.
At 11:15 p.m. (PDT), a white, four-door, late-model Cadillac pulled up to Knight's right side. Anderson, seated at the back of the Cadillac, rolled down the window and rapidly fired gunshots from a .40 S&W Glock 22 at Shakur's BMW. Shakur was hit four times – twice in the chest, once in the arm, once in the thigh. One of the bullets went into Shakur's right lung. Knight was hit in the head by fragmentation.
Despite Knight's injuries, and his vehicle having a flat tire, he was able to drive Shakur and himself a mile from the site, to Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue. They were again pulled over by the Bike Patrol, who alerted paramedics through radio. After arriving on the scene, police and paramedics took Knight and Shakur to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. Gobi Rahimi, a Death Row music video director who visited Shakur at the hospital, later reported that he received news from a Death Row marketing employee that the shooters had called the record label and threatened Shakur. Gobi told Las Vegas police, but said they claimed to be understaffed. No attackers came to the hospital. Shakur said he was dying while being carried into the emergency room.
At the hospital, Shakur was heavily sedated, was placed on life support machines, and was ultimately put under a medically-induced coma after repeatedly trying to get out of bed. He was visited by Jones and regained consciousness when she played Don McLean's "Vincent" on the CD player next to his bed. According to Jones, Shakur moaned and his eyes were filled with "mucus and swollen." Jones told Shakur that she loved him.
Knight was released from the hospital the day following the shooting on September 8, but did not speak until September. He told officers he "heard something, but saw nothing" the night of the shooting. A spokesman for the officers said Knight's statement did nothing to help the investigation. Officers at the time of Shakur's hospitalization reported having no leads. Sergeant Kevin Manning said during the week that officers did not receive "a whole lot of cooperation" from Shakur's entourage.
Rahimi and members of Shakur's group Outlawz guarded Shakur while he stayed in the hospital due to their fear that whoever shot Shakur "was gonna come finish him off". Rahimi mentioned the possibility that Outlawz brought weapons with them. While in the critical care unit on the afternoon of Friday, September 13, 1996, Shakur died of respiratory failure that led to cardiac arrest after the removal of his right lung. Doctors attempted to revive him, but could not stop the hemorrhaging. His mother, Afeni, made the decision to cease medical treatment. He was pronounced dead at 4:03 pm (PDT).
In 2014, a police officer who claimed he witnessed Shakur's last moments said Shakur refused to state who shot him. When the officer asked Shakur if he saw the person or people who shot him, Shakur responded by saying, "Fuck you" to the officer as his last words. Paramedics and other officers present at the scene did not report hearing Shakur say those words, nor did Knight or Alexander, who were also present.
The rapper Christopher Wallace, known as The Notorious B.I.G., denied playing a role in the murder. His family produced computerized invoices suggesting that Wallace was recording a song in a New York City recording studio the night Shakur was shot. Wallace's manager, Wayne Barrow, and rapper Lil' Cease publicly denied that Wallace had a role in the crime and said they were with him in the studio the night of the shooting.
Finally, here is an interview from Vice News with Greg Kading, the detective who worked on a multi law-enforcement task force that investigated the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, offering some definitive answers on who was responsible for Tupac's murder:
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