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Shakur’s Mother Files Wrongful-Death Suit

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The mother of slain rap artist Tupac Shakur filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Friday accusing a reputed Los Angeles gang member of killing her son.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, contends that Orlando Anderson, a Lakewood resident who police once named as a suspect in the still-unsolved case, gunned down Shakur in Las Vegas.

The suit follows an assault and battery claim filed Monday against Shakur’s estate by Anderson, who alleges that the rapper beat him up Sept. 7, 1996, in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel, a few hours before Shakur was gunned down. The rap star died six days later--one year ago today--in a Las Vegas hospital.

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Los Angeles attorney Renee L. Campbell, who represents Anderson, acknowledged that police once named her client as a suspect, but said they have no evidence linking him to Shakur’s death--an assertion confirmed Friday by Las Vegas police.

“Orlando’s situation is very much like that of Richard Jewel,” said Campbell, referring to the Atlanta man who was unofficially named as a suspect in the 1996 Olympics bombing. “This is another situation where incompetent and flawed police work has resulted in the wrong person being singled out as an alleged suspect and being forced, as a result, to suffer the consequences.”

Shakur estate attorney Richard Fischbein said: “I believe we can prove that [Orlando Anderson] was part of the wrongful death issue. This whole thing is unbelievable. Only in California would a guy dare to bring an action against the estate of the person he is alleged to have killed.”

According to the suit, filed on behalf of the estate and Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, the shooting followed a fight in the hotel lobby between Shakur’s entourage and Anderson. The entourage accused Anderson of stealing a gold chain from one of them during a gang scuffle a month earlier at a Lakewood mall, the suit says.

Later that evening, Shakur and Death Row owner Marion “Suge” Knight were stopped for a red light on the Las Vegas strip when a white Cadillac pulled up in the next lane. According to the suit, Anderson got out of Cadillac and opened fire into Knight’s car, fatally wounding Shakur.

The criminal murder case has been stalled for nearly a year with no new evidence or witness to advance it, Las Vegas Police Sgt. Kevin Manning said. But the burden of proof in a civil wrongful death lawsuit is less than that required in a criminal case.


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