LAS VEGAS, United States (AP) — A man who prosecutors say orchestrated the 1996 drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur was arrested and charged with murder Friday in a long-awaited breakthrough in one of hip hop's most enduring mysteries.
Duane "Keffe D" Davis, 60, has long been known to investigators as one of four suspects identified early in the investigation. He isn't the accused gunman, but was described as the "shot caller" by authorities Friday at a news conference and in court.
Davis himself admitted in interviews and in his 2019 tell-all memoir, Compton Street Legend, that he provided the gun used in the drive-by shooting.
Police homicide Lieutenant Jason Johansson said Davis's own public comments revived the investigation by providing police with "admissible evidence".
Davis was arrested early Friday while on a walk near his home on the outskirts of Las Vegas, hours before prosecutors announced in court that a Nevada grand jury had indicted the self-described "gangster" on one count of murder with a deadly weapon.
The grand jury also voted to add a sentencing enhancement to the murder charge for gang activity that, if he's convicted, could add up to 20 additional years.
The first-ever arrest in the case came more than two months after Las Vegas police raided Davis's home in the nearby city of Henderson for items they described at the time as "concerning the murder of Tupac Shakur".
It wasn't immediately clear if Davis has an attorney who can comment on his behalf. Prosecutors said they did not know if he had a lawyer and several local attorneys said they did not know who from Las Vegas would represent him.
Phone and text messages to Davis and his wife on Friday and in the months since the July 17 search weren't returned.
"For 27 years the family of Tupac Shakur has been waiting for justice," Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill said at a news conference Friday. "While I know there's been many people who did not believe that the murder of Tupac Shakur was important to this police department, I'm here to tell you that is simply not the case."
Prosecutors said they have been in contact with the rapper's family and that they "are pleased with this news".
On the night of September 7, 1996, Shakur was in a BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight. They were waiting at a red light near the Las Vegas Strip when a white Cadillac pulled up next to them and gunfire erupted.
Shakur was shot multiple times and died a week later at the age of 25.
Davis, in his memoir, said he was in the front passenger seat of the Cadillac and had slipped a gun into the back seat, from where he said the shots were fired.
The rapper's death came as his fourth solo album, All Eyez on Me, remained on the charts, with some 5 million copies sold. Nominated six times for a Grammy Award, Shakur is still largely considered one of the most influential and versatile rappers of all time.