Police seize car in probe of rapper's slaying

Police have impounded a Chevy Impala from a house in Compton that matches the description of the car used in the slaying of rapper Notorious B.I.G. earlier this spring.

Los Angeles police detectives refused to discuss the case, but sources said the two-door sedan is believed to belong to a Compton resident named Dwayne Keith "Keefee D" Davis and was confiscated from the backyard of his girlfriend's house during a May 29 gang raid unrelated to the murder probe.

Davis, who has not been arrested and does not resemble a police sketch of the shooter in the Notorious B.I.G. case, could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Edi M.O. Faal, said investigators have expressed interest in talking to Davis and expected his client to meet with them today.

"Mr. Davis intends to make it absolutely clear to the police that he had nothing to do with death of Notorious B.I.G.," said Faal, who said he expects police to release his client's vehicle.

Notorious B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was gunned down in front of hundreds of party-goers outside the Petersen Automotive Museum in the mid-Wilshire district on March 9.

Despite a $50,000 reward for tips leading to the conviction of the 24-year-old rapper's killer, no arrests have been made; the investigation has reportedly been stymied by a lack of reliable information and witnesses. The probe is still focusing on the likelihood that the rapper was gunned down over a personal dispute with a Compton gang member, law enforcement sources say.

Over the past month, sources say, investigators have been chasing new leads indicating that a member of the Compton gang may have borrowed or stolen the impounded vehicle to commit the crime.

Faal said that was impossible. He maintains that Davis' Impala has not been used for more than six months, parked in his girlfriend's backyard under a car cover, exactly the way police found it.

Police sources say a vehicle used in the commission of a crime can sometimes yield important evidence, such as fingerprints, spent shell casings or personal items that can link a suspect to a murder. It is unclear whether any such evidence was recovered from the impounded Impala.

It also remains unclear whether investigators have shown the impounded car or photos of it to members of Wallace's entourage or other witnesses to the crime.

Several law enforcement agents may have witnessed the slaying, including one off-duty Inglewood police officer working security for the rap star's entourage. Sources said the officer, who was in a car behind Wallace, chased the assailant's vehicle after the shooting and helped escort members of the entourage to the hospital, but may have fled the scene without reporting his observations about the shooting to investigators.

Inglewood Police Chief Alex Perez said his department has completed an investigation into the actions of that officer and five others who worked security without authorization for the rapper during the week before his death, but a determination about disciplinary action will not be made until later this month.

Sources said that undercover agents from a New York federal task force also had been monitoring Wallace and his entourage during the week before his death as part of an ongoing investigation of criminals allegedly affiliated with the rapper's label, Bad Boy Entertainment. Although there has been speculation that those agents may have been present at the crime scene, a government source denied it Thursday.

Los Angeles Police Department Det. Fred Miller, the lead investigator on the probe, declined to comment. So did representatives for the New York police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department.

This is the second time in nine months that police have seized materials from a residence associated with Dwayne Davis.

Police confiscated a cache of weapons from his residence last October during a previous gang sweep, according to an affidavit filed in court by a Compton Police Department officer.

Davis is the uncle of Orlando Anderson, a reputed member of the Compton gang--the Southside Crips--who was named by Las Vegas police as a suspect in the Sept. 7 slaying of rap star Tupac Shakur. The investigation is stalled and no arrests have been made.

Anderson was beaten in the lobby of the MGM hotel by Shakur and members of his entourage just hours before the rapper was gunned down at a red light near the Las Vegas strip. Faal, who is also Anderson's attorney, has repeatedly denied that Anderson had anything to do with Shakur's killing.

According to the affidavit, informants told police that Anderson's cousin, Jerry "Monk" Bonds, was seen driving a Cadillac matching the description of the vehicle driven by Shakur's murderer into an auto shop in Compton two days after the shooting. About one week after Shakur was shot, police confiscated bullets from a house where Anderson's cousin was living, as well as weapons from Davis' residence, the affidavit says.

The affidavit also contends that Wallace and his record company chairman, Sean "Puffy" Combs, often employed members of the Southside Crips as security. Law enforcement sources contend that prior to attending the music industry party where he was shot, Wallace hung out at a Compton park with a group of Southside Crips gang members.

Combs has repeatedly denied hiring gang members as security. On Thursday, the 27-year-old executive reiterated that his company only employed off-duty California and New York police officers for protection.

Law enforcement sources said investigators have yet to uncover any evidence confirming widespread speculation that Wallace's murder was connected to the Shakur slaying.