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Las Vegas police arrest man in connection with Tupac Shakur murder investigation

Duane Davis was indicted on a murder charge in the rapper's 1996 death. He is the last known survivor of the people thought to be in a car from which someone shot at Shakur.
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A Nevada man, believed to be the last living suspect investigated in the 1996 slaying of Tupac Shakur, was arrested Friday in connection with the long-unsolved case, officials said.

A grand jury handed up a murder indictment against Duane Keith Davis, 60, also known as “Keefy D” or “Keffe D,” on Thursday, with the indictment officially filed late Friday morning, according to Clark County District Court documents.

Davis has previously acknowledged that he was in the car that pulled up next to the rapper’s vehicle when he was shot. But until Friday, no charges had ever been filed in the case that has fueled headlines, conspiracy theories, songs and movies for years.

“This is the indictment we’ve been waiting almost three decades for,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said Friday, holding a copy of the indictment. “Justice will be served.”

Davis has been charged with murder with a deadly weapon committed to promote a criminal gang, the South Side Compton Crips.

It wasn't immediately clear if Davis had a criminal defense lawyer to speak on his behalf. The Clark County public defender's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The indictment alleges Davis obtained a firearm for the attack "for the purpose of seeking retribution against Tupac Amaru Shakur" and Marion "Suge" Knight, the head of his record label, Death Row, and a longtime affiliate of a rival set, the Mob Piru.

The document does not contend Davis pulled the trigger, but it argues his hand in the crime was just as heavy as any shooter's. The indictment states Davis and three other gang members with him that night conspired to kill Tupac "by acting in concert throughout."

Davis, the document states, willed Tupac's death by "counseling, encouraging, hiring, commanding, inducing and/or otherwise procuring the other to commit the crime," it alleges.

“Duane Davis was the shot caller for this group of individuals that committed this crime and he orchestrated the plan that was carried out,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jason Johansson said at a news conference Friday announcing the arrest.

On Sept. 7, 1996, the night he was shot, Shakur and his entourage were in Las Vegas for a heavyweight bout between Mike Tyson and Bruce Sheldon.

His murder was sparked by a fight earlier that night when the rapper and Knight roughed up rival Anderson inside the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, officials said.

Anderson’s beating led Davis to immediately plan revenge against Shakur and he got the gun that was used to kill him, officials said.

Shakur, 25, and his friends were stopped near East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane when a Cadillac pulled alongside and someone inside that car opened fire, hitting Shakur. He died Sept. 13.

Of the four people thought to be in the car that attacked Shakur, Davis is the last known survivor.

"In this case, the only living suspect related to this investigation is Duane Davis, all other three suspects are deceased," Johansson said.

Orlando Anderson, Davis’ nephew, has long been suspected of pulling the trigger. Anderson was killed in a 1998 gang shooting in Los Angeles.

Wolfson, the district attorney, said his office has been in contact with Shakur’s family and they’re aware of the indictment.

“We understand that they are welcoming this news,” Wolfson said. “They are pleased with this news.”

Shakur’s sister, Sekyiwa "Set" Shakur, called the arrest a "pivotal moment" and said she would reserve judgment until the proceedings are complete.

"The silence of the past 27 years surrounding this case has spoken loudly in our community," she said in a statement. "There have been multiple hands involved and there remains so much surrounding the life and death of my brother Tupac and our Shakur family overall. We are seeking real justice, on all fronts."

After decades without answers, the case was “reinvigorated” in 2018 by statements Davis made, Sheriff Kevin McMahill said.

While Las Vegas authorities didn’t specify what statements from Davis contributed to his indictment, he had been in talks with Los Angeles police in a separate drug investigation in 2018 when he discussed Shakur’s slaying in a non-prosecution agreement. 

"He provides his own series of statements that are very consistent with the evidence that we have obtained," Johansson said.

The next year in interviews and in his book, "Compton Street Legend," Davis said he provided the gun that killed Shakur.

Police served a search warrant on Davis at his home near Las Vegas on July 17, looking for laptops and other electronic devices in connection with the decades-long investigation.

Johansson declined to detail what items in that search led to the indictment but he said items seized "corroborated information obtained through our investigation."

Less than six months after Shakur's slaying, Brooklyn rapper Christopher Wallace, better known as Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.

No one has ever been charged for Biggie's March 9, 1997, slaying. It's long been believed the killings were connected to a rivalry between the two rappers.

Tension between the South Side Compton Crips and the Mob Piru came to a boil as the Crips provided security for Shakur’s rivals, rappers for New York City-based Bad Boy Entertainment, and Shakur started to resent his old friend, Biggie.

Months before Shakur's shooting, a half-dozen or so South Side members, including Anderson, beat up a Mob Piru member wearing a Death Row Records medallion, a former Compton law enforcement officer testified in documents released Friday.

Authorities on Friday maintained the motive in Shakur's death was tied directly to the fight.