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. (8:39 PM)
8:45 PM: 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.
MGM Security Video
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.
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.
8:55 PM: 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 went up to MC Hammer’s car and relayed the incident that had just happened to his bodyguard, Frank Alexander. Hammer asked Tupac some questions about the fight and ‘pac said it was all squashed and not to worry about it. While Tupac was getting in his car he was bragging about how Tyson took Seldon out in 50 punches and all he had to do was three punches and the dude was on the ground. Frank Alexander said he had trouble getting Tupac to wear his vest, and that he wouldn’t wear it very often, in fact Tupac didn’t wear his vest the whole of that night, even though he’d just been in a fight. Frank said in his book he released that Tupac only wore his vest one time out of every 10. Since they were in Las Vegas they legally couldn’t carry guns, but guns were brought along anyways. They were in a hurry leaving the fight though, and Tupac’s bodyguard forgot his gun in his car.
When he got to the hotel he told Kidada, “Some nigga started a fight with me for nothing. Something’s up, you stay here.” He was also upset because he couldn’t find the Outlaws, who were supposed to be at the Tyson fight
Tupac changed from tan silk shirt and jeans to a basketball top and sweat pants and wore his Euphanasia Medallion.
Time Unknown: 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 10 PM 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 750 BMW sedan.
10:55 PM: Tupac rolled down the window and a photographer took their picture at a red light, this was to be the very last picture of Tupac alive.
11:05 PM: They were cruising down the strip playing Tupac’s album ‘The Don Killuminati The 7 Day Theory’ when 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.
Video scene: 02:35 min.
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 and Tupac replied, “I need a hospital? You’re the one shot in the head.” 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.
The BMW was covered with blood and pieces of gold (from Tupac’s jewelry), and also had two flat tires. They brought Tupac out of the car and layed him down on the stretcher. He kept saying, “I can’t breath, I can’t breath.” 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.
Sgt Kevin Manning was assigned as leading investigator, and Cathy Scott was named lead reporter for the shooting (see pics). When the police questioned the bodyguard they continously asked if he had shot back, and when he said no they asked who had shot back. The bodyguard thought it was Suge’s friends, who were mostly members of the street gang known as The Bloods. Yafeu Fula (Yaki Kadafi of the Outlawz) had been in the car behind the BMW with bodyguards. He told the police that he could do a photo lineup for the shooters and gave the officers his number. A man told Compton police that at Club 662, he heard Tray say that the shooter was Orlando’s uncle Dwayne Keith Davis (Keefee D).
Tupac lost 22 oz of blood on the way to the hospital. As he was being carried to the emergency room he said, “I’m dying.” Tupac was admitted and listed in critical condition. His injuries included a gunshot wound to his right chest with a massive hemothorax and a gunshot wound to the right thigh with the bullet palpable within the abdomen. He also had a gunshot wound to a right finger with a fracture. The pre-operative diagnosis was a gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen and post-operative bleeding.
Just before midnight ‘Pac was taken to UMC’s Trauma Center. He was wheeled into the recovery area and was resuscitated according to advanced trauma life support protocol and a full trauma activation was called. He was placed on life support machines. Two liters of blood that had hemorrhaged into his chest cavity were removed. His pulse was very thready and initially he had minimal bloodpressure, which rapidly declined. He was taken immediately to the operating room for operative intervention and further resuscitation. He underwent surgery which consisted of ligation of bleeding, and a surgeon removed a bullet from his pelvic area which was done at midnight and finished at 2:35 AM on the 8th September. ‘Pac underwent another operation that started at 6:25 PM and lasted an hour. It was exploratory surgery, and his punctured right lung was removed to stop internal bleeding. He was back in his room at 7:45 PM.
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 Deathrow 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 September, Bobby Finch, a Southside Crip who Compton cops said may have also been in the Cadillac, was gunned down on South Mayo at 9:05 AM. Suge and three lawyers spoke with METRO police for an hour and left them with nothing in the way of leads towards suspects or motives. In Compton, Orlando’s cousin Jerry Bonds drove the white Cadillac into an autoshop on White and Alondra with another guy at 3pm.
On the 12th September Tupac was supposed to have gone to court for sentencing on weapons charges for carrying a concealed gun when he attacked Allen Hughes.
On Friday the 13th, doctors tried to resuscitate Tupac several times, then Afeni said not to try again. When Tupac took his last breath Tupac’s aunt Gloria Jean praised his body and could bear witness to who it was. He died at 4:03 PM at the Intensive Care Unit. He was pronounced dead by Dr. Lovett of respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest.
Frank Alexander, ‘Pac’s bodyguard had been at Suge’s house, and Suge was mad at him and blaming him for not having his gun with him. He was coming towards him in a threatening way when the phone rang, and he found out Tupac had died. Suge told the bodyguard that it didn’t matter now because he’s gone, and Suge’s voice was cracking up like he was about to cry. Afeni made a positive identification of Tupac’s body at 5:00 PM. A mortuary van took his body to the Clark County Coroner’s office at 5:10 PM. They did an autopsy which determined that Tupac didn’t have any illegal drugs in his body, but was heavily sedated. The autopsy report is on file at the office, but is deemed by Nevada state law not to be public.
There were ballistics tests, but the results have not been made public either. They took six pictures of him which were put on file at the office. Two general assignment detectives took Polaroid pictures of Tupac at the morgue for a police training book, but later they were removed from the book and destroyed. They sent his blood to Long Beach Genetics, who did the DNA testing to find the probability of Afeni and Billy Garland parentage which came back as 99.97%. Tupac was then cremated. Also on this day two more Bloods were shot and killed in the area by an assailant who fled on foot. On the 14th, Afeni spread some of his ashes on a hill in L.A. and some on her garden. Tupac’s family held a private funeral for him in Las Vegas. On the 15th, he was mourned during a memorial service at The House of the Lord Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn, where he was still listed as a member of the congregation. Police had thought that the man at the MGM Grand could have been a suspect, but was ruled out because security was still holding him when Tupac had left the building.
Because Tupac didn’t have a will, Afeni had to file court papers as the only living heir and that she was the administer of his estate. Death Row emptied the apartment and took the furniture which Tupac was charged over $100,000 for. Reporter Cathy Scott got hold of a supposed autopsy photo of Tupac dissected on a table at the morgue and was offered $100,000 for it from The National Enquirer. It is not an official coroner or police photo and could be a fake.
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.