Man arrested for Tupac’s murder: ‘should have come sooner’ students say

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Approximate site of Shakur's murder, on Flamingo Road and Koval Lane. Photo by Anthony Paculan.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police arrested Duane “Keefe D” Davis for the murder of hip hop icon Tupac Shakur on Sept. 29. Investigators have known of Davis’ involvement, stating he provided the weapon and ultimately called the shot for Shakur’s death.

Shakur’s murder is one of the most prolific cases in hip hop history, with Davis’ arrest coming 27 years after the original event. Davis drove himself and his accomplices next to the car holding Shakur and Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight, where his accomplices fired over a dozen shots at Shakur and Knight. Shakur was rushed to UMC, where he died six days later.

A Clark County grand jury indicted Davis on one count of murder with use of a deadly weapon. Though Davis was not one of the active shooters in Shakur’s murder, in Nevada, a person can be convicted of a crime if they help somebody else commit it. The other three accomplices from the shooting have since deceased.

While Davis’ arrest is a glimmer of justice for a cold case, some students wondered why it took so long.

“Justice for his untimely death should have come sooner,” student Janriek Bognot commented. “But it’s better now than never, I suppose.”

Many students like Bognot feel a connection to Shakur and his work, and some worry the media may misrepresent Shakur’s image and tarnish his legacy.

Student Jason Luzano recalled listening to Shakur after he first heard about Davis’ arrest. “I looked him up on Spotify and the first songs people find are so negative,” Luzano recalled. “Yeah, he was gang-affiliated, but his music is so much more than that. He really wanted to use his voice to uplift others, spread positivity and change the world.”

Luzano is referring to Spotify’s selected songs for Shakur, which are the first songs people will find when clicking on his Spotify page. 

“I think the first songs you see on Spotify [when you search for an artist] become a reflection of them,” Luzano explained. “After hearing the news, people are going to search for Tupac, possibly for the first time. They’re going to hear about the murder, the gunshots, the gang activity, then they might click on ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ and think that’s all he was about.”

Shakur reached mythical status after his death, often cited as one of music’s most influential artists, with Rolling Stone ranking him 86 on their “100 Greatest Artists” list. 

“Rap music, and I would even say music in general, was forever changed by Tupac’s lyricism, messages and presence in the industry,” Bognot said. “Generations of rappers after Tupac consistently quote him as an inspiration, and his influence lives on in those he inspired.” 

Shakur is widely praised for his music’s depictions of urban American life, addressing the struggles many minorities face. In a Los Angeles Times article exploring Shakur’s murder, music journalist Chuck Philips called Shakur “one of modern music’s most eloquent voices — a ghetto poet whose tales of urban alienation captivated young people of all races and backgrounds.” 

“He meant so much to so many people,” Luzano said. “I just hope anyone listening to him for the first time will make it to ‘Changes’ before judging his message.”

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