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Nearly thirty years after Tupac Shakur’s fatal drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, authorities arrested and charged a man in the investigation into who killed Tupac.

Law enforcement described Duane “Keffe D” Davis as one of four original suspects and the ringleader of the crime on Friday. In Nevada, a person can be charged with murder if they help someone commit the crime.

“Duane Davis was the shot caller for this group of individuals that committed this crime,” said Las Vegas police homicide Lt. Jason Johansson, “and he orchestrated the plan that was carried out.”

who killed tupac
From left, Las Vegas Police Lt. Jason Johansson, Sheriff Kevin McMahill and Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson attend a news conference on the indictment in the 1996 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur, Friday, Sept. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Who killed Tupac?

Notably, Davis had already admitted in previous interviews and his memoir that he supplied the gun used to kill Tupac. Ahead of the 27th anniversary of his murder, Las Vegas police say Davis’ comments revived the investigation.

In July, police raided his home.

Davis, 60, was arrested while walking near his home on the outskirts of the city, according to the Associated Press.

“It started the whole West Coast/East Coast” that dominated the ’90s, one of Davis’ former associates testified in court.

Honoring a legend

Tupac, or 2Pac, inspired millions with his raw and illuminating lyrics detailing the struggles of being Black in America. In June, he received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Ultimately, as the son of Black Panther Party members Afeni Shakur and Billy Garland, Tupac rose to fame at a time when mass incarceration exploded in America.

The arrest and indictment of Davis, who prosecutors believed killed Tupac by orchestrating his murder, highlights the complex issue of trying to seek justice in a natin that has been unjust to Black people for centuries.

Tupac spoke to the root causes of crime

Fed up with the violence plaguing underserved and under-resourced communities ravaged by crisis, desperate Black leaders in the 1990s appealed to political leaders to do something.

The infamous 1994 crime bill sponsored by then-Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.) didn’t create mass incarceration, but it did expand disparities in sentencing, according to the Brookings institution.

who killed tupac
Rapper Tupac Shakur, left, and Death Row Records Chairmain Marion Suge Knight, attend a voter registration event in South Central Los Angeles, on August 5, 1996. Shakur died on Sept. 13, 1996. On Sept. 29, 2023, Las Vegas authorities announced the arrest of a man who they believe killed Tupac. (AP Photo/ Frank Wiese)

Notably, 58% of Black Americans at the time supported the crime bill compared to 49% of White Americans, according to a 1994 Gallup poll.

Black communities ravaged by the crack and cocaine epidemic, where ambulances take longer to respond, and where police are less likely to investigate murders, were desperate for a solution.

Tupac, however, used his music to provide the context that was missing from political and social debates, such as lack of investment in Black communities and the lack of hope it produced among neighbors.

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Seeking accountability for the man who killed Tupac

His iconic songs “California Love”, “All Eyez on Me”, “Changes” and “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” continue to inspire new generations.

In 2009, his song “Dear Mama” was added to the Library of Congress National Registry.

The Library of Congress described the song as “a moving and eloquent homage to both the murdered rapper’s own mother and all mothers struggling to maintain a family in the face of addiction, poverty and societal indifference.”

Over a decade later, Las Vegas prosecutors would charge a suspected ringleader in his killing with murder. As the investigation and pending trial into who killed Tupac continues, the memory of his impact on the world lives on.

A grand jury indicted Davis on one count of murder with a deadly weapon. It also voted to add a sentencing enhancement for gang activity that would carry an extra 20 years if convicted.

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

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