Thursday, September 24, 2009

Real or Rumor? Tupac's Murderer Charged.

by Cathy Scott 

It always amazes me when I see a rumor picked up by a media outlet, regardless of how small that outlet is. So I was once again surprised a couple weeks ago when I got an e-mail from a TV producer asking about an arrest in the 13-year-old murder case of platinum-selling rapper Tupac Shakur.

I put on my sleuth cap and started digging. This is what was first reported, from
Backseat Cuddler, a gossip site that got Tupac fans and the hip hop world hyped up:

BREAKING NEWS - Tupac Shakur Killer Has Been Arrested In Las Vegas

I just received a message from my source in Las Vegas that Tupac Shakur’s killer has been arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tupac died on September 13, 1996. On the night of September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot four times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. He died six days later of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest at the University Medical Center. Tupac Shakur was a rapper, actor, and social activist. Story developing…..
That prompted “Gossip Headlines” to print this reaction, which, in turn, prompted three pages of comments from readers:

Arrest Made?

OMG, OMG, O-M-G, if this is true, hip-hop is about to go into a tailspin!!! According to BackSeatCuddler, Tupac Shakur’s killer has been arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada!!! It was there in Sin City 13 years ago (September 13 marked the 13th anniversary) where the legendary rapper was shot 4 times while sitting in the passenger seat of Suge Knight’s BMW after leaving a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand Hotel. Tupac died six days
later from respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest caused by multiple gunshot wounds. See Original Story For More.

Wow, I thought to myself, how could I have missed that one? Maybe it had to do with Notorious B.I.G.’s case, I thought. And that was odd too, because Las Vegas reporters would have been all over the story. A source wasn’t listed in the postings. So I checked TV and print sites and there were no mentions of an arrest. Then I reached out to my law enforcement contacts in Las Vegas and Nevada.

“No,” said a source in the Los Angeles area, “there haven't been any arrests in the Tupac and Biggie cases here.”

Then I called the homicide unit of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and talked with a spokesperson. “There haven’t been any arrests in that case,” she said.

I put out a few more feelers. I came up empty. The only news involving Tupac, who, besides being a rapper, was an actor and poet, is that the
Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, runs, is partnering with Woodruff Library to prepare Tupac’s writings and papers for scholarly research. The Tupac Shakur Collection is currently housed within the Woodruff Library's Archives and Special Collections Department. It features Tupac’s handwritten lyrics, personal notes and fan correspondence, among other items.

Meanwhile, the rumor about an arrest in Tupac's case coincided with the 13th anniversary of his murder. As a result of the anniversary and the rumor, record sales for Tupac’s music went through the roof. And sales for books about Tupac took off too. The warehouse manager at
Huntington Press, my publisher for The Killing of Tupac Shakur, said sales had jumped and orders from were especially high.

Other than that, it's been fairly quiet on the Tupac front. So much for a “developing story.”

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