Shakur’s Mother Pushes for Resolution to Case


The mother of slain rap artist Tupac Shakur is moving forward with a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, hoping to achieve something police haven’t been able to--solving her son’s murder.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in September by Afeni Shakur, contends that Orlando Anderson, a reputed Los Angeles gang member whom police once named as a suspect in the case, gunned down Shakur 18 months ago on the Las Vegas Strip.

“There were two crimes committed here,” said Shakur estate attorney Richard Fischbein. “One is that Tupac was killed. The other is that no competent police investigation into his murder followed. It’s a shame that the mother of the murder victim is put in a position to have to do the work of the Las Vegas Police Department.”


Attorneys for Shakur say they have spent more time than the Las Vegas police questioning Anderson, who has denied any role in Shakur’s killing. On Feb. 26, Shakur’s lawyers interviewed Anderson for six hours during a court deposition in which they say the Lakewood resident contradicted previous accounts he gave to law enforcement authorities regarding events before Shakur’s slaying.

In the months ahead, Shakur’s legal team says it plans to interview a number of witnesses and others connected to the case, including Death Row Records owner Marion “Suge” Knight, the driver of the vehicle in which the rapper was shot Sept. 7, 1996.

Shakur’s attorneys say they also intend to subpoena documents they believe may be relevant to the case, including records from cellular phone companies, hotels and car rental shops they say were not reviewed by police.

According to the lawsuit, the rapper’s 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 Knight were stopped for a red light on the Strip when a white Cadillac pulled up in the next lane. According to the suit, Anderson was riding in the Cadillac and opened fire into Knight’s car, fatally wounding Shakur.

Anderson, who has filed a separate assault and battery claim against Shakur’s estate, could not be reached for comment.


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 slaying--an assertion confirmed Friday by Las Vegas police.

Campbell said that neither Shakur nor Fischbein offered any new evidence to support their allegations against her client when they were deposed in February for Anderson’s lawsuit, which seeks upward of $1 million for physical injuries and mental suffering stemming from the MGM assault.

Although Campbell characterized Shakur’s suit against her client as “frivolous,” she too accused authorities of not working hard enough to catch Shakur’s killer.

“The Las Vegas police have not conducted what we consider to be a credible investigation into the murder of Tupac Shakur,” Campbell said. “The tragedy is that this young life was lost and the cops don’t seem to be doing anything at all about it. Meanwhile, my client’s name continues to be dragged through the mud.”

Sgt. Kevin L. Manning, who is in charge of Shakur’s murder probe, conceded Friday that the case is stalled with no new leads. Manning said his detectives had contact with Shakur’s estate before Anderson’s Feb. 26 deposition, but declined to comment further.

During that deposition, Anderson testified that Knight helped Shakur and several other men beat and kick him in the lobby of the MGM--an assault that was captured on a hotel surveillance tape. In November 1996, however, Anderson testified at a probation hearing that Knight did not participate in the attack and actually tried to break it up.


Anderson now says he perjured himself at the hearing because he feared for his life. The judge disregarded Anderson’s testimony and sent Knight to prison for nine years for a probation violation stemming from his role in the assault.

Anderson also previously told authorities that the reason he traveled to Las Vegas was to attend the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon heavyweight fight, which was held at the MGM Hotel. During his deposition, however, Anderson contended that he never purchased a ticket to the fight, claiming he gained entrance to the event when a security guard allowed him to enter the arena for free through a rear door that he happened to be passing by.

In addition, Anderson, who was unemployed during September 1996, previously told authorities that the Excalibur Hotel provided a complimentary room for him and his girlfriend during his Las Vegas stay because he was a “big gambler.” Two weeks ago, he testified that he didn’t consider himself to be a big gambler and could not remember whether he had been comped a room at the Excalibur or not.

Eighteen months ago, Anderson was identified as a member of the Southside Crips gang in a Compton police affidavit prepared to obtain search warrants for a pending gang raid. Anderson, who was arrested and released during that gang sweep, testified two weeks ago that he has never been a member of a gang.

During the same deposition, however, Shakur’s lawyers revealed that Anderson was arrested in May by the Inglewood police and detained overnight with several other alleged gang members in connection with an aborted bank robbery attempt in the city. No charges were filed against Anderson, whose attorneys contend that he was being harassed by police and had done nothing wrong.

On Friday, Campbell said the contradictions in Anderson’s testimony shed no new light on who killed Shakur.


“The case against Mr. Anderson is meritless, and I believe it will be dismissed,” Campbell said. “Regardless of any discrepancies in Mr. Anderson’s testimony, the bottom line is that there is irrefutable evidence captured on a videotape showing Tupac Shakur attacking, kicking and beating Mr. Anderson. He is the victim here, and his case against the estate will be resolved based on what is shown on the videotape.”

Both lawsuits are scheduled to go to trial in September.