The events leading up to September 7, 1996, the tragic day Tupac was shot are as controversial as the shooting itself. It was said that there were some problems between Deathrow’s lawyer and Suge’s right hand man, David Kenner and Tupac. On August 26th, 12 days before Tupac was shot, he was on the set all day and at the studio all night. On the 27th, he sent Yaasmyn Fula, who managed his business affairs, to the studio to get tapes of what he was done. Deathrow would not allow her access to the tapes as David Kenner, Deathrow’s lawyer and Suge’s right hand man, denied her the tapes. It’s rumored that Tupac had Yaasmyn write Deathrow a letter saying that Tupac had finished his last album and would be leaving Deathrow. Tupac later went back to LA, and although he wanted to go to Atlanta to visit relatives, Suge convinced Tupac to go to the Tyson/Seldon fight in Las Vegas as he had promised.
The Tyson vs. Seldon boxing match was held Saturday, September 7, 1996. Tupac and Suge sat up front and Tupac cheered Tyson on as he had done so many times before. The fight lasted only 109 seconds. While walking through the lobby of the MGM grand after the fight the entourage noticed Orlando Anderson. In a prior incident in a Lakewood Mall, Orlando Anderson stole Travon Lane’s Death Row medallion that happened to be a personal give from Suge Knight. Tupac stepped up to Orlando and said “You from the south?” Tupac then punched him in the face knocking him on the ground, after which Suge and the Deathrow entourage proceeded to beat him. Rumors surrounding the shooting have Orlando’s Anderson with Jerry Bonds driving the white Cadillac while Dwayne Keith Davis (Keefee D) was the shooter. An article in Details magazine stated that Orlando and his brother wanted to start a studio, but didn’t have the resources. Allegedly after the shooting they came into some money, and the possibility of a pay off for some role in the shooting is possible. Anderson, an alleged crip who claims he’s not affiliated, also denied the shooting and stated he was a possible scapegoat. He was shot 2 years later in an incident outside a car wash.
MGM Security Video
Heading to club 662 There were some strange occurrences in Las Vegas according to the book written by Tupac’s bodyguard Frank Alexander. The first, was that permits were not sent ahead of time so they were not allowed to carry guns. The second was that he ended up without his phone, and the third coincidence would come after the fight. After the beating of Orlando Anderson the entourage returned to where they were staying at the Luxor Hotel, a block south of the Las Vegas strip. Tupac changed from tan silk shirt and jeans to a basketball top and sweat pants and wore his Euphanasia Medallion. The cars were delivered to the front, Tupac went with Suge, and Frank Alexander ended up driving Keisha’s car, with no gas, and supposedly no weapon. They headed to Suge Knight’s Las Vegas residence on Monte Rosa Avenue. They stayed there until after 10pm when they left towards Club 662 at 1700 East Flamingo Road. Suge and Tupac were driving with Suge at the wheel of a newly purchased 1996 black 760 BMW sedan. They were cruising down the strip playing Makaveli when at 11:05pm they were stopped for playing the stereo too loud and not displaying proper plates. Of interesting note, is that the shooting took place just after the police stopped them, and this time may well have been used to plan the timing of the drive-by shooting. After they were let go Suge and Tupac headed East on Flamingo road where they stopped for a red light at Koval Lane, half mile from the Strip. One car pulled up a car-length ahead to the right and Kadafi, Frank and EDI were in the car behind them. A jeep full of girls pulled up to the left and got Suge and Tupac’s attention, and that’s when it happened.
A late-model Cadillac with four men inside pulled up directly to the right of the BMW and sprayed 13 rounds into the car. Police reported that a .45 was shot, but it’s believed that information was withheld to identify the real shooter; apparently a .9mm was used. Tupac saw it going down and tried to jump into the back seat. He was hit twice, one bullet hit him his leg and ricocheted up into his lung. Suge was hit in the head with a piece of shrapnel. There were reports that gunfire was returned, but this has been debated and has not been verified completely. The Cadillac turned right onto Koval Lane and vanished. Some cars in the entourage tried to follow the Cadillac but it seemingly disappeared.
Suge meanwhile, pulled a u-turn and headed back down East Flamingo. Suge reportedly told Tupac that he was going to get him to a hospital. The u-turn was questionable because the Desert Springs Hospital is located at 2075 East Flamingo, not far from club 662. Suge knows the area all to well as he used to play for the UNLV Rebels. The cops turned and followed Suge down the road instead of securing the crime scene. As a result the scene and evidence was ran over and dispersed through traffic. Three cars from their entourage also followed Suge down East Flamingo. Suge got caught up in traffic, went up over a median, ran a red light and popped a couple tires on the center divider. He ran the red light at Harmon Avenue and then got stuck on the median with four flat tires. Police, ambulance and the fire department arrived on the scene that was in total chaos. Reports were made of people running up trying to snatch side-mirrors and such off of the car. Tupac’s entourage was ordered to get on the ground and held at gunpoint while Tupac was loaded into an ambulance and taken to University Medical Center.
Tupac remained at the intensive care unit while family and friends had a vigil at the hospital. When I found out Tupac had been shot I was shocked, I really wasn’t expecting it. I said “yeah, just wait till he comes this time, he’s gonna be really pissed.” The thought that Tupac could have died really didn’t occur to me at first, he always seemed larger than life. While in the hospital Tupac had his right lung removed, he was in and out of consciousness and was highly sedated. Later he was placed on a ventilator and respirator, life-support, and put into a drug-induced coma. The doctor made a promising statement that Tupac had passed the critical phase and had a fifty percent chance of survival. Considering the odds Tupac had been faced with through out life and had always succeeded, a fifty percent chance seemed like a certainty. Unfortunately they couldn’t stop the internal bleeding and Tupac passed. After several attempts to revive him, his mother Afeni, decided to let him rest. “I really felt it was important for Tupac, who fought so hard, to have a free spirit. I felt it was important for his spirit to be allowed to be free. So I rejoiced with him, with the release of his spirit.” On September, Friday the 13th, the always-lively Tupac had breathed his last breath.
Bloods vs Crips Aftermath
In the following week of Tupac’s shooting three people were killed in 12 shootings. The police performed a massive raid of almost 40 houses including Orlando Anderson’s where they confiscated a Death Row Pendant. On Sept the 9th, on East Alondra, a man who Las Vegas police said may have been in the Cadillac was shot in the back. On the 11th Bobby Finch, who Compton cops said may have also been in the Cadillac was gunned down on South Mayo at 9:05 am. Two bloods were shot and killed by an assailant who fled on foot. On May 29, 1998, Anderson and his friend Michael Reed Dorrough pulled into the parking lot of Cigs Record Store at the intersection of Alondra and Oleander in Compton. Here he met Michael Stone, also a crip, who was with his nephew, Jerry Stone. Tempers rose and a gunfight erupted. Orlando and the Stones were all fatally injured. An informant told police it was connected with the killing of Tupac, others said it was over money. It seems odd that if Orlando Anderson were responsible for the killing of Tupac it would take two years before he was killed, by a fellow crip nonetheless.
Suge Knight Parole Violation
In the beating of Orlando Anderson Suge Knight was charged with violating his probation. Suge claimed that he was trying to break up the rumble, and Anderson confirmed his story in his testimony. However, Anderson later changed his story and said that Suge was in fact involved. Suge was sentenced to nine years in prison, however he got out early and is now a free man.
The police investigations in the two shootings of Tupac were shabby at best. It would seem that the police were not interested in solving the shootings and as EDI of the Outlawz stated “(He) was just another black man that had a strong opinion—and now he’s out of the way.” Tupac’s dislike for the police and vice-versa was not a secret. Tupac had previously been charged for shooting two off duty officers in the rear end after they harassed him for jay walking. The case was dismissed because the officers had guns that were taken from evidence. In the 1996 Las Vegas shooting, the police department claimed that the witnesses weren’t cooperating. Kadafi as an eye witness, wasn’t helped in custody. Police said that David Kenner, Deathrow’s lawyer, made meetings with the police but never showed up. Kadafi was later shot and killed in New Jersey. Some other interesting points was that no helicopter was called in to look for the Cadillac, the crime scene was destroyed, trained bodyguards couldn’t give an accurate description and it happened just off the strip with no witnesses. The irony of Tupac’s last movie, Gang Related is heavy. Tupac proposes to setup their crimes on a drug dealer because nobody will care.
The impact of Tupac’s death spans from the inner workings of rap to all the people and fans alike who have suffered the loss. It was hard to believe that somebody so fearless, so alive, and who defied all odds, could actually be mortal, and it’s hard to except his passing. Indeed there are many oddities about the death of Tupac that have caused fans to dissect, probe and evaluate the information in search of answers. While the lack of closure has made it hard to accept, the theories surrounding his death have only added to his controversial and legendary status.