Music HistoryMusic News

The Tupac murder: Has there been a break in music’s most famous cold case? Here’s a full summary of what we know so far

The Tupac investigation lives. Let me break this down.

Late summer 1996: The East Coast-West Coast rap feud that began several years early continues. Tupac hasn’t forgotten being jumped in a Times Square recording studio n New York in November 1994. Pac would later allege he’d been set up by Sean Combs (aka Puff Daddy) and the Notorious B.I.G. Pac was shot five times.

September 7, 1996: Tupac and his entourage get into a fight–they started it–with another group at the MGM Grand after a Mike Tyson fight. The victim was Orlando Harrison, a member of The Cripts. This is retaliation for one of Tupac’s bodyguards–a member of the Bloods–being beaten up. Everything is caught on hotel security cameras.

Three hours later, around 11pm, a car pulls up alongside Pac’s BMW on Las Vegas Boulevard. As Pac and passenger Death Row Records boss Suge Knight talked to fans, a white Cadillac pulls up alongside the Beemer. Pac is hit three times in the chest with semi-automatic weapon fire while Knight takes a single slug,

Pac lingers in hospital before dying of massive internal bleeding on September 13, 1996. No one is ever arrested in his murder, although a subsequent journalist investigation points at the shooter being a member of the Crips using a gun that may appears to have been paid for by Biggie.

Over the years, there have been clues and rumours about who was responsible. Orlando Anderson’s name kept coming up, even though he’d been questioned and released by the LVPD. The case goes cold.

March 9, 1997: The Notorious B.I.G. is shot dead in a drive-by assassination after an awards ceremony in Las Angeles.

May 1998: Anderson is killed in a shoot-out unrelated to the Tupa murder.

2000s: Duane “Keefe D” Davis continues to give interviews in which he claims to have been in the white Cadillac with the shooter. He refuses to say who pulled the trigger, but says he was one of two eyewitnesses to the shooting. We also learn that Keefe D is the uncle of Orlando Anderson, the best suspect in the investigation.

On Monday (July 17), under cover of darkness, a Las Vegas police SWAT team descended on a house on Maple Shade Street in Henderson, Nevada, owned by Paula Clemons in order to executive a search warrant. Clemons is married to Keefe D. According to the latest reports, they;ve lived in that house since 2016.

Here’s the question: What kind of probable cause did the LVPD have to roll into the neighbourhood with amoured SWAT vehicles. What was in the search warrant? It would have had to be approved by a judge, and that sort of thing doesn’t come easy.

Cops lingered at the residence for about two hours, apparently seizing hard drives and pictures along with some magazine articles. Copies of Keefe D’s book, Compton Street Legend, were also taken. What were they hoping to find?

The best guess is that they (a) believe Orlando Harrison was the shooter, but he’s dead; (b) however, next to Keefe D, there’ was apparently another eyewitness in that white Caddy. Who? Might that person be charged as an accomplice?

Evidence will not be delivered to a grand jury to see if the investigation can move forward.

Read more here, here, here, and here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37884 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “The Tupac murder: Has there been a break in music’s most famous cold case? Here’s a full summary of what we know so far

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.