Tupac Shakur’s shooting, 25 years later

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This is a drawing of from the night of the murder, courtesy of the police report.

Arguably one of the largest events to happen in the city of Las Vegas, this marks the 25th anniversary of famous rapper Tupac being murdered right on these very streets. 

11:15 PM. The moment a rap icon and revolutionary would be cut down by four bullets under the flashing lights of the Las Vegas Strip. Six years of hard work to reach superstar status in the music industry, all gone in a matter of moments.

There are still no answers as to who the gunman is, and where the trigger man is now. The case remains an open investigation with everything about the case laid out on the table. Many have speculated on the reasoning of why this case remains unsolved. 

Shakur was in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on that fateful night of Sept. 7, 1996 for the Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon boxing match. Shakur was accompanied by Death Row Records CEO Marion “Suge” Knight as well as other Death Row associates. 

Tyson made quick work of Seldon in the highly-anticipated fight, winning by knockout 109 seconds into the match. 

Shakur, a close friend of Tyson, was elated at the result of the match and celebrated backstage with Tyson prior to departing for the lobby.

Tyson shared his own account of the night, remarking that Shakur invited him to the fight after party at Suge Knight’s nightclub, “Club 662.” Tyson, just becoming a father, declined to join Shakur that night and went back home to his wife and child. 

Shakur and his entourage made their way to the MGM lobby where the infamous lobby brawl occurred. 

Witness accounts describe the spark that started the melee being Shakur seeing Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson in the lobby. Anderson, an alleged member of the Southside Crips, a gang in Compton, California. 

Anderson was involved in an altercation at a Compton mall where Anderson and other members of the Southside Crips assaulted Death Row Records member Travon Lane and stole Lane’s Death Row Records chain in the months leading up to the Tyson v. Seldon fight. Shakur laid eyes on Anderson, and fueled by adrenaline from the fight, uttered four words; “You from the South?”, and sucker punched Anderson, triggering the brawl. 

Anderson laid on the MGM lobby floor being pummeled by the entire entourage. The commotion drew a crowd, and when the dust cleared, Shakur was storming out of the MGM lobby. The entourage departed the MGM and returned to the Luxor, the hotel they were staying at. Shakur was encouraged by numerous individuals to wear his bulletproof vest, since he was just in a fight. Shakur refused. 

Shakur and Knight drove tio Knight’s residence on Monte Rosa Ave, off of Sunset. The group stayed at the house until 10 PM, when the group began to make their way to the fight after party at Club 662 on E. Flamingo Road. 

Knight and Shakur were driving on the Strip in Knight’s newly purchased 1996 750 BMW when the car was stopped by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police at 11:05 PM for playing their stereo too loud and not displaying proper plates. The car was let go, and they continued to head to the nightclub. 

The car stopped at the traffic light on Flamingo and Koval, when a white late model Cadillac pulled up next to Shakur’s car and discharged 13 rounds into the vehicle. Witness accounts say that Knight ducked when he heard the gunfire and was grazed in the head, while Shakur attempted to climb into the backseat, being struck twice. One bullet hit Shakur in the leg and ricocheted into his lung while the other struck him in the hand.  

The white Cadillac turned right on Koval Lane and disappeared into the night. 

Shakur and Knight, wounded from the gunfire, attempted to drive away from the scene. Knight pulled a questionable U-turn on Flamingo Road while Desert Springs Hospital was in the direction the car was headed. Metro Police followed Knight’s car instead of securing the crime scene with the thought that the BMW was the car the gunman was in. The panicked cars at the intersection ended up driving all over the crime scene, smashing shell casings and other evidence, making it useless. 

Three cars from the Death Row convoy followed Knight and Shakur until Knight hit traffic and proceeded to hop over a median and ran a red light before coming to rest at Harmon Ave. 

Police, the fire department and an ambulance arrived at a chaotic scene. Retired LVMPD officer Chris Caroll, who was on bike patrol that night, was the first to the BMW. Gun drawn, Officer Caroll asked the two to show him their hands, when he realized the car was riddled with bullet holes. 

Carroll proceeded to attempt to open the passenger door, where Shakur sat motionless. The door was jammed at first, likely from bullet damage, then was opened. Shakur, bloodied, spilled out of the BMW as the door opened. 

Caroll caught Shakur and eased the wounded rapper onto the hot Las Vegas pavement. Caroll asked Shakur who shot him while Knight rushed around the car to check on his star. 

Shakur coughed up blood and shakily got a breath together and uttered his alleged final words to Officer Caroll, a simple “F*** you.”

Shakur’s eyes rolled back into his head, and the rap superstar lost consciousness and was rushed to University Medical Center. 

Shakur succumbed to his injuries six days later on Sept. 13, 1996.

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