The Killing of Tupac Shakur

 

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Cathy Scott

HUNTINGTON PRESS

Las Vegas, Nevada

 

The Killing of Tupac Shakur

Published by:

Huntington Press

3665 South Procyon Avenue

Las Vegas, NV 89103

(702) 252-0655 Phone

(702) 252-0675 Fax

E-mail:
[email protected]

Copyright © 1997, 2002 Cathy Scott

ISBN 978-1-935396-18-5

Cover Photos: Corjuni/ Outline (front cover), Malcolm Payne (back cover), Aaron Mayes (author photo)

Cover Design: Maile Austraw

Production: Laurie Shaw

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may translated, reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

 

First, to the memory of my grandmother, Esther Rose (1901-1990), a Carmel, California, artist with an intellect far too early for her time.

Second, to the grieving mothers who have lost their sons to gangsta violence: My sincere sympathies to you all as you struggle to make sense of their deaths.

And last, to the memory of Tupac Shakur: May he live on through his music, films, and legend.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Many people (and a loyal Siamese) stood by me as I finished this manuscript. To appropriate the words of Tupac Shakur, “You are appreciated.”

First, to Anthony Curtis at Huntington Press and his staff, including Bethany Coffey Rihel and Len Cipkins, and particularly editor Deke Castleman, for believing that the killing of Tupac Shakur was a Las Vegas story that needed to be told and that I was the one to tell it, and for their incredible editing, focus, and dedication to the manuscript – you steered me and the words in the right directions and made it better.

To the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, notably Lieutenant Wayne Petersen and detectives Brent Becker and Mike Franks, for their interviews, and especially, Sergeant Kevin Manning for putting up with my many questions and allowing me to flesh out the story.

To Geoff Schumacher (formerly my boss at the
Las Vegas Sun
) for giving me time off to work on the manuscript, and to the
Sun’s
daytime copy desk – Rob Langrell, Linda Wrzesinski, and Sal DeFilippo – for their endless good humor and encouragement and to photographers Steve Marcus, Marsh Starks, and Aaron Mayes for their images.

A special thanks to the
Las Vegas Sun’s
online department
for its innovation in packaging the daily Tupac stories. I especially thank Jennifer Whitehair for her hard work.

To my attorney Vickie Pynchon for her legal counseling and a lifetime of friendship that began in grade school where we had early aspirations in “Sisters of the Pen” of one day becoming writers.

To Kevin Doty, Esquire, and Kent Lauer with the Nevada Press Association for their advice.

To Frank Alexander, a fellow Tupac author and former bodyguard, for his time.

To my sources, who, for obvious reasons, I won’t name. And to one in particular – you know who you are – a thank you from the heart for reading every word I write, for understanding the role of a journalist, and for being my friend.

To my fellow newswomen and newsmen, allies and sterling journalists all: Kevin Powell for his sensitive description of the man, not just the rapper; Tonya Pendleton for her insights into the world of rap; Rachael Levy for forever being the devil’s advocate and making me a better reporter; Char-lene “Charlie” Fern for forcing style, style, style at my first daily paper;
Las Vegas Review-Journal
columnist John L. Smith for his confidence in my abilities; syndicated cartoonist Mike Smith for his steadfast support; Muriel Stevens for her sound literary advice; Myram Borders for her Las Vegas history; “Kayaking” Steve Waterstrat for his friendship; Teresa Hinds for listening and loaning me mystery writer Bill Moody – her then-fiance – so I could pick his brain; and the
Sun’s
executive editor, former Nevada Governor Mike O’Callaghan, for believing in me.

To my family, most of whom were long-distance boosters: my son Raymond Somers Jr. for his never-failing encouragement and blessings; my mother, fellow writer Eileen Rose Busby, who taught me I could achieve whatever in life I chose; my father, James Melvin Scott, whose writing of his own book at 85 spurred me on to pen my own; my big brothers Jon Scott for his continued faith and J. Michael Scott for his scholarly and brotherly advice; my sister Sally Scott for passing on to me
her love of literature; and my twin sister Cordelia Mendoza for always being there.

To Tupac Amaru Shakur, may he rest in peace.

And finally, my gratitude to a Grossmont College instructor whose name I no longer know and who is still unaware of the impact he had on a sophomore in his creative-writing class when he told her she had talent.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
PREFACE
 
AUTHOR’S NOTE
1.
THE KILLING OF TUPAC SHAKUR
2.
THE AFTERMATH
3.
THE SCUFFLE
4.
THE INVESTIGATION
5.
ABOUT TUPAC SHAKUR
6.
ABOUT THE MUSIC AND MOVIES
 
PHOTO SPREAD
7.
NEW YORK SHOOTING
8.
ABOUT SUGE NIGHT
9.
THE MURDER OF YAFEU “KADAFI” FULA
10.
THE MURDER OF BIGGIE SMALLS
11.
MURDER IN COMPTON
12.
GANGSTA RAP AND HE RECORD INDUSTRY
13.
VIOLENCE IN RAP AND GANGS
14.
MOTIVES
15.
THE AUTOPSY
16.
DEAD OR ALIVE?
17.
EULOGY
 
APPENDIX: Official Coroner’s Report

 

PREFACE

I’ve endeavored to uncover the truth surrounding the killing of Tupac Shakur. Perhaps no one will ever know for certain who pulled the trigger, although police have said they know who did it. What is known is this: The gunman has gotten away with murder.

Not since John Lennon was cut down on the streets of New York City has a major entertainment figure been murdered at the pinnacle of his popularity. As in the Lennon killing, Shakur’s death resonated far beyond the world of musical entertainment. Unlike the Lennon killing, Tupac’s murder has yet to officially be solved.

From the start, my goal has been to separate fact from fiction in the tremendously high-profile case. Much of the information I’ve gathered and presented here has never been published before. In some cases, I’ve identified errors previously reported and replaced them with the facts as I’ve learned them and know them to be true.

This book is based on interviews, research, and observations that began the day Tupac was shot. I’ve gleaned information from a prodigious paper trail, including county, city, police, and legal documents and records. I’ve perused hundreds, if not thousands, of newspaper and magazine articles. In piecing together the events of September 7, 1996,
and the continuing aftermath, I have diligently and painstakingly checked and rechecked the facts. I’m a police reporter by trade; it’s my job to get it right.

I’ve interviewed more than 200 people about the case. More than 100 are cited. Some of my sources provided background information only and their names have not been included in the text. Although I’ve had many conversations with Shakur family members and their attorneys, agents, and assistants, Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, decided not to submit to an interview. Instead, I’ve included the few published comments she has made about Tupac’s death.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, known as Metro, was forthcoming at times and less so at others. In the past, Las Vegas cops have been notoriously tight-lipped – all the way up the chain of command to the highest levels. Long-term former Sheriff John Moran (now deceased) consistently refused to talk to reporters; even when he retired in December 1994, Moran declined to give a final interview, standing his ground and closing his door to the press one last time. It’s a Las Vegas tradition to snub reporters.

That attitude carried over into the administration of Sheriff Jerry Keller, who was at the helm of the department when Tupac was murdered. Although Keller did talk to the media, he often became openly indignant and critical of reporters when the questions got too tough.

And although homicide detectives and others close to the Tupac Shakur case were understandably reluctant at times to discuss certain aspects of it, they eventually provided enough details to allow me to construct an accurate portrayal of the events surrounding the criminal investigation.

LVMPD officers, however, drew the line when it came to speaking with out-of-town reporters, purposely fielding only questions from local newsmen and women, whom they knew. As a result, the
Las Vegas Sun’s
newsroom, where I worked at the time, received calls from dozens of reporters from all over the world who had been stonewalled by Las Vegas police.

When a major story breaks in a newspaper’s hometown,
local reporters and editors often shine in the national spotlight. The world was watching the Tupac Shakur case unfold daily; the
Las Vegas Sun
was ahead of the curve each day, beating the competition in its quest to break the news. After all, this was our town and our story. We weren’t about to let the national papers gobble it up and take it away from us. During the first week of coverage, the
Sun
assigned three reporters to the story, but the shooting investigation was all mine.

My pursuit of this story turned up a fascinating and convoluted sequence of events surrounding not just the shooting, but Tupac himself and the world in which he lived. I piece them together for you here, in the pages that follow.

This book is an accounting of the events. The language is raw and the drama could have come straight from the wildest movie. It didn’t. This is not fiction. The players in these pages are real. This is a true, violent, and sad story of an unsolved crime, based on the facts. It is the story of the killing of Tupac Shakur.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE

Since the September 1997 release of
The Killing of Tupac Shakur
, I have received thousands of e-mails, letters, and telephone calls from fans of Tupac asking for more information about his murder.

Much has been learned since the first release of
The Killing of Tupac Shakur,
which is the reason for this updated and expanded edition. This new version is an attempt to further flesh out the facts surrounding Tupac’s slaying. Included in this second edition are the events in more detail with fresh interviews. Hopefully, when you finish reading it, you will be more informed and more enlightened.

Thanks to you all for your cards, e-mails, letters, and phone calls. While I may not always openly express it, I greatly appreciate your feedback. I also try to keep readers informed on my website at
http://www.cathyscott.com/.

 

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THE KILLING OF TUPAC SHAKUR

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