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‘I told on myself’: Suspect’s interviews key to indictment in Tupac murder

Updated October 3, 2023 - 10:07 am

Copies of court exhibits released Monday in the murder case of hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur include multiple interviews Duane “Keefe D” Davis has given to media outlets in recent years.

Davis, a 60-year-old reputed member of the South Side Crips, has been indicted on a charge of murder with a deadly weapon with the intent to promote, further or assist a criminal gang, prosecutors and law enforcement announced Friday. Prosecutors alleged that Davis was the “on-ground, on-sight commander” responsible for formulating a plan to exact revenge on Shakur and Death Row Records CEO Marion “Suge” Knight in retaliation for a fight involving Davis’ nephew at the MGM Grand.

Online court records did not list a private attorney for Davis as of Monday evening. Davis was arrested Friday before the indictment was announced, and has denied all media interview requests while he is in custody at the Clark County Detention Center, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

Hundreds of pages of transcripts have been posted depicting the grand jury proceedings that were held throughout the summer. The transcripts show that prosecutors questioned multiple witnesses about Death Row Records’ rivalry with Bad Boy Records, a label founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs that represented rapper Christopher “Biggie” Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G.

Prosecutors have said Shakur’s killing was part of an ongoing rivalry between the South Side Crips, which witnesses testified acted as security for Bad Boy Records, and the Bloods-associated Mob Piru. Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo said Friday that by mid-1996, there “wasn’t much distinction between Mob Piru and Death Row Records.”

‘I told on myself’

On Monday, the District Court released copies of the 48 exhibits prosecutors provided to the grand jury during the closed hearings.

The exhibits include mug shots of Davis and other reported gang members, images from Shakur’s autopsy, Shakur’s death certificate, photos of the crime scene and the bullet-ridden vehicle Shakur was in when he was shot, and images of Davis’ book, “Compton Street Legend,” which was released in 2019. The grand jury was also provided with four video clips from interviews Davis participated in after his book was released, which are all publicly available on YouTube.

In the interviews and in the book, Davis claimed he was in the car with the gunman who shot Shakur during the drive-by shooting at Flamingo Road and Koval Lane, on Sept. 7, 1996.

“I told on myself,” Davis said in one interview provided to the grand jury, which was posted to the YouTube channel The Art of Dialogue two years ago.

Davis promoted his book as a true recollection of the events surrounding the shooting, saying in one hourlong clip, also available on the YouTube page UrbanCity TV, that “I got no reason to lie.”

He stopped short of describing the exact events of the shooting during the interviews. In one clip, Davis described seeing Shakur hanging out of a vehicle, how the white Cadillac he was in pulled a U-turn — “and that was it.”

‘Seeking real justice’

Shakur, Knight and Davis’ crew with the South Side Crips were all in Las Vegas that night for the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon heavyweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden. After the fight, Shakur and his entourage spotted Davis’ nephew, Orlando Anderson, in the hotel lobby and attacked him, which authorities have said was in retaliation for a recent brawl at a Los Angeles mall.

Anderson was briefly named as a suspect in the investigation before he was killed in a gang-related shooting in 1998, according to previous reports from the Los Angeles Times and Esquire magazine.

In one interview provided to the grand jury, the interviewer implies that Anderson shot Tupac.

“He did his thing, yeah,” Davis said.

During grand jury proceedings, a man affiliated with the South Side Crips testified that his roommate who was also in the Cadillac’s back seat, Deandrae “Dre” Smith, had confessed to pulling the trigger, according to court transcripts.

Davis is the only man left alive from the four people authorities believe were inside the Cadillac that night. Under Nevada law, he can be charged with murder if prosecutors allege he aided and abetted in a killing.

In a statement released Friday, Shakur’s sister, Sekyiwa Shakur, called Davis’ indictment a “pivotal moment,” but said that she will “reserve judgment 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,” she said. “We are seeking real justice, on all fronts.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Review-Journal staff writer David Wilson contributed to this report.

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