A man who has long claimed to be one of the last people to see Tupac Shakur alive was charged in the rapper’s murder Friday after prosecutors said he was the “shot caller” in a 1996 drive-by shooting spurred by “revenge.”
Duane “Keffe D” Davis, 60, was indicted by a Clark County, Nevada grand jury on a charge of murder with the use of a deadly weapon in connection to the Sept. 7, 1996, shooting on the Las Vegas strip. His arrest was first reported by the Associated Press.
“This is no doubt a pivotal moment,” the rapper’s sister, Sekyiwa ‘Set’ Shakur, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “The silence of the past 27 years surrounding this case has spoken loudly in our community. It’s important to me that the world, the country, the justice system, and our people acknowledge the gravity of the passing of this man, my brother, my mother’s son, my father’s son. His life and death matters, and should not go unsolved or unrecognized, so yes, today is a victory but I will reserve judgement [sic] until all the facts and legal proceedings are complete.
“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,” Sekyiwa added. “We are seeking real justice, on all fronts.”
During a Friday court hearing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo said Davis was arrested early that morning outside his house after a grand jury had been seated for months in the Shakur case. He said that Davis—described as a “five-star general” for a local gang—didn’t pull the trigger himself but formulated the plan to “exact revenge” on Shakur and Death Row Records co-founder Marion “Suge” Knight after a fight that involved Davis’ nephew, Orlando Anderson, at the MGM hotel.
Davis was the “on-ground on-sight commander of the effort to kill Mr. Tupac Shakur and Suge,” DiGiacomo said in court.
DiGiacomo alleged that, to carry out his plan, Davis acquired a .45 caliber Glock from an associate then went with several other people, in two cars, to Club 662, where Shakur was set to perform a concert later that evening.
When Shakur and Knight did not immediately show, Davis allegedly left, went to a local liquor store, and switched cars to join some others in a white Cadillac.
DiGiacomo alleged that Davis sat in the passenger seat and slipped the gun to one of the individuals in the backseat. In his memoir, Davis said that Anderson, a known rival of Shakur, was also in the backseat. The indictment states that Terrance Brown, aka “Bubble Up” and Deandre Smith, or “Big Dre,” were also in the car at the time.
While driving around, DiGiacomo said in court, Davis’ car happened to see “the caravan that included Mr. Knight and Mr. Shakur.” Davis’ car then allegedly pulled up next to Shakur and Knight’s BMW at a red light near the Las Vegas Strip, and the “rear passenger fired a number of rounds from that vehicle,” DiGiacomo said. The shots hit Shakur several times, and hit Knight in the head.
Lt. Jason Johansson said that Davis is the only living suspect related to Shakur’s murder. “All other three suspects are deceased,” he said. “Duane Davis was that shot caller for this group of individuals that committed this crime. He orchestrated the plan that was carried out to commit this crime.”
Davis has long been linked to Shakur’s death—and even admitted in interviews and in his 2019 memoir that he was in the other car during the shooting.
In the memoir, Compton Street Legend, Davis said he told authorities in 2010 that he witnessed the murder. At the time, Davis was facing drug charges. “They promised they would shred the indictment and stop the grand jury if I helped them out,” he wrote in the book, according to the AP.
DiGiacomo also noted in court on Friday that Davis had publicly spoken of his role in Shakur’s death at least eight times in 2019 to promote his book. In various versions of the story, Davis “acknowledges that he is, in fact, the person that ordered the death of Mr. Shakur and the attempted murder of Mr. Knight,” DiGiacomo said.
In July, authorities executed a search warrant at the Henderson home of Davis’ wife in connection with the Shakur case. The search warrant, obtained by CNN, names Davis and says police were looking for electronics, photographs, letters, and other documents. CNN reported that police ultimately took computers, marijuana, a copy of Vibe magazine that featured Shakur, and a copy of Davis’ memoir.
Davis is scheduled to appear in Clark County District Court on Oct. 4.
“Tupac Shakur is a music legend and the world has been wanting justice,” District Attorney Steve Wolfson said during a Friday press conference announcing the arrest. “Today justice will be served in the murder of Tupac Shakur.”