As the 13th anniversary approaches of rapper Tupac Shakur’s murder in a drive-by shooting near the Las Vegas Strip at age 25, the media come out in droves to cover it. TV news magazines started weeks ago on their pieces. All want to help solve the crime.
In the mix is the third edition of my book, The Killing of Tupac Shakur. In this edition, I’ve included new interviews and never-before-released information on the case. Also new to this edition is an exclusive interview, with first-hand background and information, with Reggie Wright, owner of Wright Way Security, the firm that provided security for Tupac’s record distributor, Death Row Records (since renamed Tha Row).
Wright and his security team were on duty the night of the killing. Also interviewed for the new edition were Kevin Hackie, a cop-turned-bodyguard for Wright Way who once worked for the Compton Police Department, and Leila Steinberg, a one-time manager for Tupac.
As each anniversary rolls by, reporters invariably ask me the same question. “Will Tupac’s murder ever be solved?” And my answer has typically been, “I don’t think so.”
Now, however, new information is surfacing from law enforcement indicating that they’re looking at new information about two South Side Crips members. It appears it may be the break everyone has been looking for in the case--considered the highest-profile murder investigation in the history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The latest details in the investigation are also in the upcoming third edition of my book, due out by the mid-September anniversary.
In the many years since Tupac’s murder, much has happened. To wit, Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Biggie Smalls) was killed six months later. Biggie’s murder, like Tupac’s, has not been solved. In the aftermath, others have died as well. Orlando Anderson, a Southside Crips gang member out of Compton, long believed to be the shooter in the Tupac case, was cut down in a shootout. Also dead are Jerry Bonds and Bobby Finch, who were named by Compton police as the gang members riding inside the white Cadillac with Anderson when Tupac was shot.
A fourth man,Davion Brooks--also a person of interest and widely believed to be a passenger in the Cadillac--co-ran a studio in Las Vegas called A&D Records, short for Armed and Dangerous, until 2003, when he was arrested for the federal offense of trafficking drugs to local street gang members. Brooks now sits in the Terminal Island federal penitentiary in California with a scheduled release date of July 2013. A fifth man, Terrence Brown, known as T-Brown, was named early on in a Compton Police affidavit as having been in the Cadillac with Tupac’s assailant. None has yet to be officially linked to Tupac’s murder. The book’s third edition breaks down that night in a minute-by-minute time line, supplying the information needed for readers to decide how the murder went down.
To many, Shakur was not just another ghetto kid who had made it big in the rap industry. He continues to be an inspiration, 13 years after his death, not only because of his music, but also for his ability to reach youth of all races. Whatever Shakur was, it’s indisputable that in both life and death, he took the rap industry by storm.
And now, with a team in place taking a fresh look at the case, the killers may very well be brought to justice and the questions surrounding Tupac’s murder, including untold conspiracy theories, may finally be answered.
For Las Vegas record producer David Wallace, who met Tupac at a party hosted by Death Row, Tupac's record distributor, about a year before the killing, Tupac’s music will live on, regardless of whether his murder is ever solved. “He was an artist,” Wallace said. “You can’t just sing to somebody. You have to sing through them. Man, when Pac sang, he was real about it.”