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Who Killed Tupac Shakur? The story of the rapper’s shocking death

Tupac Shakur
An image of Tupac Shakur. Date unknown. Photo by D G on Flickr.

You may not have met him when he was alive and on his grind, but you must have heard his name at one point in time. Tupac Amaru Shakur, known by his performance name 2Pac and later by his identity Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor born in Lesane Parish Crooks on June 16, 1971. Tupac died on September 13, 1996. Today, people are still wondering who killed Tupac.

Tupac was and still is arguably the most influential rapper in history. Currently, he is still one of the world’s best-selling artists, with more than 75 million albums sold worldwide.

The majority of Tupac’s music addresses current social issues plaguing inner communities and was seen as an activist of anti-inequality.

The topic of Tupac’s death has grown to be very interesting over the years, following the theories and conspiracies that have spread regarding the nature of his death and the validity of his death. 

Shakur was shot four times by an unnamed assailant in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996, and died six days later.

Due to their public enmity, Shakur’s friend-turned-rival, the Notorious B.I.G., was first considered a suspect after his death but was killed six months later in a drive-by shooting while visiting Los Angeles.

Since Shakur’s death, five more albums have been published, all of which have been certified Platinum in the United States. 

a photo of Tupac
A photo of Tupac Shakur. Date unknown. Photo by 1only1queen2011 on Flickr.

Who killed Tupac?

Till now, there has still been no conclusion as to who killed Tupac. 

Tupac died on September 7, 1996, in a drive-by shooting, and he was 25 years old at the time of his death. The car carrying Tupac came to a halt at a red light on East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane at 11:15 pm, which was precisely when the shooting occurred.

Tupac was shot twice in his chest, once in his arm, and once in his thigh by four .40 caliber rounds fired from a Glock pistol. He died in the hospital six days later from his wounds and infliction. 

The culprit behind this shooting was never found. The year after the incident, Sgt. Kevin Manning, who led the investigation, reported to Las Vegas Sun investigative writer Cathy Scott that Tupac’s murder “may never be solved.”

He claimed that the inquiry couldn’t yield any positive result because there were no reliable clues and the witnesses at the time of the incident were not willing to speak about it therefore the probe has been put to an end.

Conspiracies surrounding the law enforcement’s unwillingness to uncover the truth behind Tupac’s death and bring perpetrators to book came about shortly after Manning’s interview.

E.D.I. Mean, a man who was a member of the Outlawz and an ally of Tupac alleged that the law enforcement knew details about Tupac’s death but was unwilling to deliver justice. 

Other reports started filing in on the murder of Tupac. In 2002, Chuck Philips, a Los Angeles writer, published a two-part report titled “Who Killed Tupac Shakur?”

Due to the year-long investigation. According to Philips, “The shooting was carried out by the Southside Crips, a Compton gang, in retaliation for Shakur’s beating of one of their members just hours before the shooting.

The fatal rounds were fired by Orlando Anderson, the Person who had attacked Shakur. Anderson was considered a suspect by Las Vegas cops, but he was only interviewed once. Anderson was killed in an unrelated gang shooting nearly two years later.

Other rappers, including The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac’s opponent at the time, and other New York City gangsters, were also named in Philips’ story.

Philips released a second article, where he evaluated the irresponsibility of the Las Vegas cops to successfully and adequately carry out the necessary investigations surrounding Tupac’s death.

According to his report, Las Vegas police made the mistake of dismissing the fight just hours before the shooting where Shakur allegedly beat up Anderson in the M.G.M. Grand lobby.

They also failed to follow up with one of Shakur’s squad members who had witnessed the shooting and told the Las Vegas police that he would be able to identify one or more of the assailants and was willing to but was killed shortly before his interview.

Lastly, they didn’t follow up on a lead provided by one of the eyewitnesses about a white Cadillac that looked like the one from which the shooters shot their fatal rounds and fled. 

Over the years, more conspiracies surrounding Tupac’s death continued to spread, and they led the F.B.I. to publish documents as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request in 2011.

This request showed their investigation of the Jewish Defense League, which extorted protection money from Shakur and other rappers after sending them death threats. This was according to Haaretz, an Israeli daily.

In 2017, Knight revealed that he was the target of the assassination attempt that killed Shakur, claiming that it hit him as part of a plot to seize control of Death Row Records. 

Some people also made speculations that the Notorious B.I.G. was responsible for Tupac’s death. The majority had all eyes on him following the news of Tupac’s death because he was Tupac’s biggest rival at the time.

The rapper, whose name was Christopher Wallace, denied knowing about Tupac’s death. A report had it that Christopher was recording a song at a New York City recording studio at the time of Tupac’s attack, according to the record of his family’s electronic bills.

Christopher’s manager, Wayne Barrow, and Lil’ Cease, a fellow rapper, debunked the rumors that were flying about and associating Christopher with Tupac’s death as they claimed that they were recording in the studio with him on the night of the shooting.

Despite the rumors that were spreading, no substantial evidence that could link Wallace to the assassination of Tupac was found. Even Wallace died six months later.

He was killed in a drive-by shooting by undiscovered assassins on March 9, 1997, and died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

photo of Tupac Shakur
A photo of Tupac Shakur, date unknown. Photo by 1only1queen2011 on Flickr.

How did Tupac die?

Tupac was killed in a drive-by shooting by undiscovered assassins. Tupac and Knight, his friend or associate, were driving at night.

It was reported that patrol officers initially stopped their vehicle with no license plates and played music at a very high volume. They were, however, released shortly without being cited.

They stopped at a red light point at 11:10 pm, which was minutes after their release, where they briefly chatted with two women whom they had sighted because their car was in close range with theirs. At exactly 11:15 pm, a white four-door Cadillac positioned itself beside Knight.

The shooter, seated in the back of the Cadillac, rolled down the window and fired rounds at Tupac’s BMW with a .40 S&W Glock 22.

Knight drove Tupac and himself a mile away from the crime scene to Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue despite his injuries. They were stopped again by the Bike Patrol, who radioed paramedics.

Knight and Tupac were transported to Southern Nevada University Medical Center by police and paramedics. Tupac was hospitalized after the incident. After repeatedly attempting to get out of bed, he was deeply drugged, placed on life support, and eventually put into a medically induced coma.

Tupac died of respiratory failure that followed a cardiac arrest due to the removal of his right lung while in the critical care unit on the afternoon of Friday, September 13, 1996.

Doctors tried to resuscitate him but were unable to halt the bleeding. At 4:03 pm, he was pronounced dead (PDT).

Where was Tupac Shot?

Tupac Shakur was shot at the intersection of East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in Las Vegas, Nevada, around 11:15 pm on September 6.

This was close to The Maxim Hotel, which closed on November 21, 1999, and is no longer open to the public. Tupac was hit twice in the chest, once in the arm and once in the thigh.

photo of Tupac Shakur
A photo tribute to Tupac Shakur. Photo by Pasquale Di Maio on Flickr.

When did Tupac die?

Tupac was taken to Southern Nevada University Medical Center following the shooting. He attempted to get out of his bed several times, which led to him being heavily sedated, placed on life support, and eventually put into a medically induced coma.

On the afternoon of September 13, 1996, he died in the critical care unit from a respiratory failure caused by a heart arrest that caused the removal of his right lung.

Doctors attempted to resuscitate him, but they could not stop the bleeding. His mother Afeni decided to stop receiving medical treatment, and he was pronounced deceased at 4:03 pm (PDT).

How old was Tupac when he died?

Tupac was 25 years old when he was shot and killed. At the time of his death, he was already one of the leading names and most prominent personalities in 1990s gangster rap. Along with Snoop Dogg, Shakur was considered one of the top two American rappers of the 1990s.

Shakur “had helped transform rap from a crude street fad to a nuanced art form, setting the foundation for the current global hip-hop boom,” according to music journalist Chuck Philips.

With his time being cut short, there is no doubt that Tupac achieved a lot at a young age and created a lot for himself and the rap game, a legacy that would last generations. 

How old is Tupac?

Tupac would have turned 51 this year on June 16 if undiscovered assassins had not murdered him. He was 25 years old when he died due to a drive-by assassination attempt that led him to a coma, heavy hospitalization, and finally, death. 

Shakur, who left this world 26 years ago, was a significant American character born into poverty and raised by two former Black Panthers.

He initiated hip hop’s celebration of rags-to-riches success, poetic lyricism, and political undercurrents, selling over 75 million albums worldwide.

a mural of Tupac
A graffiti mural dedicated to Tupac. Photo taken in 2011. Photo by r2hox from Madrid, Spain.

Tupac’s autopsy

An unknown assailant shot Tupac Shakur after exiting a boxing match in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 7, 1996.

A white Cadillac drove up to the passenger side of the vehicle Tupac was traveling in.

According to witnesses, two males exited the Cadillac and fired 13 shots from a Glock .40 caliber handgun at Tupac’s vehicle.

Tupac Shakur, sitting in the passenger seat was struck by two bullets in the chest, one in the arm, and one in the thigh He died six days later in the hospital due to the casualties he suffered from the wound.

Tupac’s autopsy started to spread majorly when the book, The Killing of Tupac Shakur was released. Because of an autopsy photo featured in its pages, the book made headlines when it was released in September 1997, on the first anniversary of Shakur’s death.

It was the first book about the rapper’s death to be published. Many people claimed that Tupac’s autopsy didn’t fit the description of his death. However, this was only according to some conspiracy theories that claimed that Tupac faked his death and is still alive somewhere.

There have even been claims and reports of Tupac’s sighting in one or two places. However, the validity of this information is questionable because the authorities in charge confirmed the validity of Tupac’s autopsy. 

Where is Tupac buried?

Tupac was cremated a day after his death. His ashes were reportedly scattered in his mother’s garden. However, according to the latest news, Tupac’s ashes will be transported to Africa on the tenth anniversary of his death.

Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, is transporting his ashes to Soweto, South Africa, to meet Nelson Mandela. According to her, the events that occurred there are a significant part of her history, and it will be an honor for her son to be buried there.

Tupac Shakur’s death shook the world as a beloved American star. Documentaries, foundations, awards, and many others have been dedicated in his memory to keep his legacy strong. 

Written by Bo Weber

Supporting artists since 2014

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