Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles September 7, 1996, Tupac Shakur and Marion “Suge” Knight are driving in a 1996 BMW 750 sedan, heading eastbound on Flamingo Road in Las Vegas. At 11.15 pm, a white, four-door, late-model Cadillac, pulls up alongside them. The back window of that car rolls down. As Tupac realizes what's happening, he tries to clamber into the back seat. Bullets are fired in rapid succession from a .40 S&W Glock 22. Knight is only grazed by bullet fragments, but Tupac is seriously hurt. He's been hit twice in the chest, once in the thigh, and once in the arm. Knight puts his foot down and heads towards Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue. There a Bike Patrol pulls them over and immediately alerts paramedics. The two men are soon taken to University Medical Center. On the way to the emergency room in a frail voice, Tupac says, “I'm dying.” He's right. Days later, his girlfriend Kidada Jones asks him, “Do you know I love you…Do you know we all love you?” She thinks he manages to nod even in his terrible state. He'll soon be dead. But what actually happened? Who killed Tupac? This has become one of the most enduring mysteries in recent times. First, let's look more closely at events that night. Tupac and Knight had just watched Mike Tyson beat Bruce Seldon at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The fight lasted a grand total of 109 seconds. Another fight later broke out in the lobby of the hotel with Tupac and friends and Los Angeles gang Southside Crips member Orlando Anderson. Tupac was told by a guy in his entourage named Trevon “Tray” Lane, that Anderson had stolen his Death Row chain and pendant a while back in a Foot Locker store in Compton. Lane was a member of the M.O.B. Pirus gang, an enemy of the Southside Crips. Tupac approached the guy, said, “You from the South”, and punched him in the face. Soon after he told his girlfriend that this guy had “started a fight with me for nothin'.” He also told her, “Something's up. You stay here.” MGM Grand video surveillance showed Tupac, Knight, and their entourage beating Anderson until security broke it up. There must have been about six people kicking the guy when he was down, a beating perhaps severe enough to enrage a man enough to commit murder. Just after 11 pm, Tupac and Knight were driving down Las Vegas Boulevard heading to Knight's Club 662, when they were pulled over by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Bike Patrol. They were told they were playing music too loud and asked why the car didn't have a license plate. There was one, in the trunk, and the cops let them go. Just a few minutes later, they stopped at some traffic lights at an intersection at East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane. In the car behind were their bodyguards. There were two cars in front, and to their side, there were some women in a car. Tupac rolled down the window and invited them to the club, paying little attention to what was going on elsewhere. Then the Cadillac pulled up beside them. It had California plates. Some reports state that the guy shot from the window, but others say he got out of the car. Whatever happened, 13 shots were fired and Tupac, who'd survived being shot five times just two years earlier, wasn't going to survive this one. By the way, Tupac thought rapper and enemy Biggie Smalls had a hand in the previous shooting. Some people still think Biggie, a man that was gunned in a way not dissimilar to the way Tupac was killed, was involved in the Las Vegas hit. All will be explained later. Ok, so what happened next? As you know, Knight sped off, tires screeching. Chris Carroll, who was then working with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said he was on the scene when the car stopped again. He said Knight got out and was running around with blood gushing from his head. Carroll said in an interview years later, “I mean the guy had clearly been hit in the head, but he had all his faculties. I couldn't believe he was running around and doing what he was doing, yelling back and forth.” He said he managed to open Tupac's side and his body just fell out of the car. Carroll, with a gun in his hand, grabbed hold of Tupac. Blood was everywhere. Knight started yelling, “Pac, Pac”, while Carroll thought Tupac was almost dead. For that reason, he tried to get a “dying declaration” from him so the cops would have an idea about who had shot him. Did Tupac actually see who had pulled the trigger? There had to be a chance. Carroll said this is what happened next: “And then I saw in his face, in his movements, all of a sudden in the snap of a finger, he changed. And he went from struggling to speak, being noncooperative, to an 'I'm at peace' type of thing. Just like that. . . He went from fighting to 'I can't do it.” Carroll said at that moment Tupac looked into his eyes. Carroll looked back at him with a grave expression on his face, thinking Tupac might name the shooter. He asked again, “Who shot you?” Tupac took a breath as if trying to find the energy to get something out, and then he said, “F-you.” After that, he became unconscious. Tupac was taken to the hospital, with another officer on the way failing to get a dying declaration out of him. Nothing. Tupac was out of it. One foot was already in the grave. His girlfriend said that at one point in the hospital he did regain consciousness for a very brief moment, and that was when she played a song called “Vincent” by Don McLean. She said his eyes seemed to move and he moaned a little bit, but he wasn't able to speak. When she said move your legs if you can hear me, the sheets moved at the end of the bed, but then he was soon convulsing, and the end was near. Not weeks earlier, he'd told her he'd even consider having kids with her, despite the fact he'd said before he didn't want to bring kids into a “corrupt world”. That night he told her, “I'd take a bullet for you.” When they were packing to head to Vegas, she asked him if he wanted to take his bullet-proof jacket. He replied, “No, It'll be too hot.” Had Tupac been able to talk on his death bed, perhaps he might have been able to say a name. Had he not issued that blunt two-letter pronouncement to the cop, maybe he could have uttered something that would have led to an arrest. Alas, he did not. Tupac never spoke again. So, who killed him? Well, the theories over the years have been churned out almost as frequently as rappers have been charged with serious crimes. One thing is for sure, Tupac had enemies, but then, back in those days where beefs were settled with bullets, just about every big name in hip-hop had some seriously violent enemies. An obvious enemy of Tupac that night would be the guy that got beaten up in the lobby. First of all, while Tupac might have told his girlfriend that some dude had just attacked him, the truth is Tupac started the ruckus. Anderson may well have snatched a chain from Lane in the past, but he didn't start that fight. He denied he had anything to do with the shooting, although rumors surfaced that he had bragged about doing it. This he later strenuously denied, telling the Los Angeles Times in an interview that he was actually a big fan of Tupac's. It would turn out that this guy had a lot of different faces. One of the guys there that night was Yaki Kadafi, and he was a witness to the shooting. The police, though, didn't even follow up on this. Pity. This kid was found dead in a stairwell just three months after the Tupac shooting. It was said he was accidentally shot by Roddy Beale, a cousin of a member of one of Tupac's group, Outlawz. The cousin, the rapper Napoleon, later said in an interview that the accident had likely happened because the guys had taken LSD. Still, there are plenty of people that think Kadafi was taken out because of what he had seen. Just to let you know, we are not talking about fully grown adults here. When Tupac was killed he was 25 – and only 23 the first time he was shot. When Kadafi was killed, he was 19. Napoleon was also 19 when it happened, although he didn't die. Biggie Smalls was just 24 when he was killed. There's evidence that the part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex doesn't stop developing until we are 25. This is the part called the “executive suite”, where rationality comes from, the organic machinery that tells you to calm down and not do something stupid. You could say this had a lot to do with the murder. As for Anderson, he was gunned down in 1998 when he was 23. He'd attempted to get some owed money from another guy, and he shot him. A firefight ensued and Orlando died as a result. So, was this guy Anderson a natural-born killer? His half-brother Pooh didn't think so, saying in an interview about him: He “never caused a problem. One thing about him, he was always involved in positive things. Always, always, always.” He said Anderson wasn't a gangster, nor did he kill Tupac, and was actually just a fan. Still, the Compton cops said Anderson was definitely in a gang, even though he was one of the more quiet ones and actually pretty “cool.” Another friend of Anderson's said this about him: “We all had problems with our parents. Our mothers were on crack and our dads weren't around. Orlando had something I didn't have, and that was family.” He said Anderson didn't do drugs, he didn't smoke, and he wasn't keen on alcohol. He went to school, and unlike most of his friends, he didn't have a criminal record. But then he became known as the guy that shot Tupac, even though his past suggested he was not the kind of person to do such a thing. He even once said, “God is with me. I'm not going to worry about it. I can't spend the rest of my life worrying about Tupac.” It's a complicated story, but police were looking for a reason to lock up Knight, who was the owner of Death Row records. He was considered more of a Godfather-type character than a mere gangbanger. His record label had cops on the payroll, cops who were stealing vast amounts of cocaine and sometimes stashing it in the Death Row offices. We are talking about huge amounts of corruption here. It was part of something called The Rampart Scandal, and that corruption could have affected how police investigated gangland murders. The Rampart Corruption Task Force discovered that quite a few police had been hired to work as security for the Death Row label, earning tons of money and basically being gangsters at the same time they definitely weren't doing their jobs as police officers. It's a theory that corrupt cop Rafael Pérez was actually behind the Biggie shooting, with Knight being the one who hired him. Why? Because Knight thought Biggie was behind Tupac's shooting. Ok, we digress, and we understand this is complicated, but we wouldn't be doing the story justice if we don't go down a few bent avenues. So, cops, non-gangster cops, understood that Knight had his fingers in a lot of illegal pies. They wanted to take him down, and so with the CCTV footage from the fight in the MGM Grand lobby, they thought they could put him behind bars. Anderson told the police that Knight had indeed been one of the attackers, but when it was time to say that on the witness stand, he didn't just say that Knight didn't hit him, but that he was actually trying to stop the fight. The judge knew that Anderson was lying, but he didn't know that he'd very likely been paid off by Knight. Knight had done similar things before, once paying a huge bail sum for Tupac's release after he was convicted of sexual assault. When Tupac was a free man he later told Knight over champagne, “I'm gonna make Death Row the biggest label in the whole world.” Back to Anderson. With the cash, he was going to start his own record label, but that didn't happen because he was killed. Two other young men also died that day. By the way, all this happened just days after Anderson had settled out of court with Knight for the damages he suffered when he got the beating. Had he had lived, he would have got $78,000. Now we will introduce you to Duane “Keefe D” Davis, a former Southside Compton Crip who back in the day made millions of dollars selling drugs. He is also the uncle of Orlando Anderson. Davis, who now has cancer and is immune from prosecution, said not long ago it was time to come clean about Tupac's murder. He said he was in the Cadillac that night and so was his nephew, Anderson. He didn't say who pulled the trigger, but said the bullets were fired from the backseat. In separate interviews, he claimed Anderson fired the gun. “As the rounds continued flying I ducked down so I wouldn't get hit,” he said. Davis said that driving the car was Terrence “T-Brown” Brown and he was beside him also in the front. He claims DeAndre “Dre” Smith and Anderson were in the back. You can't ask Brown about that, because he was shot and killed in 2015 in a Compton medical marijuana shop. You can't ask Smith either, because he died of a heart attack in 2004. Both men were said to be gangbangers. Davis has said that the hit was due to the beating his nephew had taken, which fueled the fire that was already raging between rivalries. He also said that there was a bounty on Tupac's head, one million dollars offered by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, the man whose record label, Bad Boy Records, had Biggie signed to it. James McDonald, who was no stranger to gang violence and once worked security for Knight, confirmed that after that snatch of the chain in Compton, tensions heated between the South Side Crips and the MOB Piru Bloods. He said on the night of the murder he was posted outside Club 662 and he saw a Cadillac whose occupants were South Side Crips. He said as soon as he saw the car he called his brother Anton, who was one of the guys who was involved in the beating. Anton, who was later killed himself in gang violence, was warned that the south side is in Vegas and that something is “up”. If you look at this case it seems in all likelihood the shooting was just another part of the so-called Thug Life, with someone basically being shot over a chain and pendant.