MYSTERY WIRE — This week marked 24 years since a dark event in pop culture. Iconic rapper Tupac Shakur was gunned down just off the Las Vegas strip. His murder has never been solved, and some fans believe Tupac is still alive.
September 7th was fight night in Las Vegas. Mike Tyson fought Bruce Seldon, but it was violence that erupted outside the ring that captured international headlines.
Tupac Shakur and several people he was with got into a fight in the MGM Grand lobby. The fight was caught on camera.
Shakur left the MGM Grand with Suge Knight. Knight was driving and Shakur was in the passenger seat.
After leaving the MGM Grand they were stopped by police. But after a quick interaction they were allowed to drive off.
A few minutes later they had left the strip and were stopped at a red light at the intersection of East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane, about a quarter mile east of the Las Vegas Strip, when a car with two women pulled up on the driver’s side.
Shakur and Knight did speak with the woman before gunshots rang out from a white, four-door, late-model Cadillac that had also pulled up on the passenger side.
Shakur was hit four times by someone in the back of the Cadillac shooting, Knight had a bullet graze his head. He was shot twice in the chest, once in the arm, once in the thigh.
Even though Knight was shot and his car had a flat, he was able to drive from the shooting scene toward the Las Vegas Strip to the corner with Harmon Avenue, where Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino now stands.
There, police caught up with them and called in EMT’s who took both Shakur and Knight to University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Knight was treated for his head wound, but Shakur died a few days later on Friday, September 13, 1996.
However, conspiracy theories about Shakur’s murder continue to this day. Everything from who killed him to rumors that he’s not actually dead.
One story claims Tupac Shakur is living a low key life among the Navajo Native Americans. Another says he is living in a small town in Cuba after being smuggled out of the country with the help of none other than Fidel Castro. Yet another theory claims Shakur is alive and well in New Mexico.
Suge Knight has been quoted as also doubting Shakur’s death. The former rap tycoon spoke out from jail in a recent documentary, stating: “When I left that hospital, me and Pac was laughing and joking. I don’t see how somebody could turn from doing well to doing bad.”
In 2014, Knight stated on camera that “Tupac’s not dead” and is “somewhere smoking a Cuban cigar.”
In September 2018, images appeared to show Tupac partying with Rihanna in a Cuban bar. The pictures have been dissected many times online and are now mostly considered fake.
There is even a numeric theory about Shakur’s life and death.
Fans have long cited the number seven’s frequency amongst the details of his murder as evidence, of what isn’t clear. One part of the long theory about 7 goes like this: Tupac was shot on 7th September, aged 25 (2+5). Shakur died at 4:03pm (4+0+3=7), and his birthday was the 16th June (1+6). Again, it’s not clear what this theory is proving, but if you want to take a deep dive into this one, you can read it for yourself here.
Four years ago, KLAS-TV investigative reporter Vanessa Murphy tracked down the emergency responders who were on the scene, along with medical staff at the hospital where Shakur was taken and eventually died.
This week, Mystery Wire spoke with Murphy about her story and her thoughts after researching the case.
The paramedics’ recollection of the night leaves them with no doubt Shakur was shot and died from his injuries.
The men told Murphy they were working nearby and saw police cars speeding by and just followed them.
“I was driving,” Jim said. “I was 22-years-old at the time.”
“I had been a medic for roughly five years,” Shane said. “The chaos, there was a lot of chaos, a lot of cop cars.”
“Just as we started looking at each other to decide what we were doing, Metro told us to come in. They were waving us to come in,” Jim said.
As they exited their ambulance, they describe what happened next.
“Somebody met me at the back and said, ‘Go help my buddy,’ and, ‘My buddy’s shot in the car.’ So, I went,” Jim said. “Which ended up being Suge Knight,” according to Shane. “The whole car, it had, was riddled with bullet holes.”
“We brought the gurney up, just pulled him out,” Shane said.
“Pulled him out, and that’s when everybody was yelling, ‘Tupac, Tupac,’ and I leaned over to the cop, and I go, ‘This guy has the same nickname as that rapper,’” Jim said. “The cop, you know, looked at me and leaned over and was like, ‘This is him.’”
The paramedics also discovered a second patient.
“We got word from PD that there was another guy that was shot in the head,” Shane said. “They walked him over to the ambulance. He got in, and it ended up being Suge Knight who was grazed on the head.”
“He wanted us to make sure that we took care of Tupac before him,” Jim said.
The call, which they say lasted 14 minutes, is unforgettable for them, just like Tupac Shakur is to so many.
“We remember it like it was yesterday. We’ve run thousands and thousands of calls since that call, and we remember every detail of it like it was yesterday,” Jim said.
“Absolutely,” added Shane.
“You realize how much of an influence he really did have and how big of a deal it was. I guess I realize it more now than I did 20 years ago,” Jim said.
“Exactly,” Shane said.
As far as the investigation goes, it is still an open case with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. This means that even after 24 years, much of the evidence, including witness statements, remains out of reach to the public.
Police now treat the investigation as a cold case, saying they will start up active investigating any time credible evidence comes their way.
Ever since the murder of Shakur, there have been some people who say the police didn’t investigate this crime as much as others, claiming it was because of race.
“Metro Police will tell you they took it seriously and they’re going to take any murder seriously,” Murphy told George Knapp during the recent interview. “On the other hand, there are some people who believe that police may not have taken it seriously because perhaps they thought this was black on black crime, and it wasn’t a priority for police. But again, detectives will tell you that people who may have been involved or who may have been of help witnesses just didn’t want to cooperate with them.”
The rapper Christopher Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G., denied playing a role in the murder.
His family produced invoices showing Wallace was recording a song in a New York City recording studio the night Shakur was shot.
Six months later, on March 9, 1997, Wallace himself was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles by an unknown gunman.
This case also remains unsolved.