Who is Duane Davis, the man police just arrested in connection to Tupac’s murder?

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson stands beside a photo of Duane "Keefe D" Davis
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson stands beside a photo of Duane “Keefe D” Davis during a news conference on an indictment in the 1996 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur on Sept. 29, 2023, in Las Vegas.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

Nearly 30 years after Tupac Shakur was gunned down on the Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas police have made their first arrest in the case. Duane “Keffe D” Davis, who previously admitted to riding in the car from which the fatal shots were fired, was taken into custody Friday morning.

Police revived their interest in Shakur’s shooting in recent months. Prosecutors have presented evidence to a Clark County, Nev., grand jury, according to sources familiar with the extensive investigation.

Police searched Davis’ home in Henderson, Nev., in July, seizing materials they said were connected to the shooting, according to the warrant approved by Clark County Judge Jacqueline M. Bluth.

Among the items seized were .40-caliber cartridges, computers, photos and other materials, records show. The judge also authorized investigators to seize any items that could tie Davis to the South Side Compton Crips, according to the warrant.

Duane ‘Keffe D’ Davis, 60, is indicted on a charge of murder in connection with the 1996 shooting death of rapper Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas.

Sept. 29, 2023


Who is Duane Davis?

Duane “Keffe D” Davis grew up in Compton and joined the South Side Compton Crips at a young age. His father was a former marine, and Davis has said in his book “Compton Street Legend” that one of his ancestors was Nat Turner, an enslaved preacher who led the deadliest slave rebellion in U.S. history in 1831.

By 1996, Davis had become a major player in the South Side Crips, running their nationwide drug empire. He has previously said he and Suge Knight were the only living eyewitnesses to the deadly Vegas confrontation on Sept. 7, 1996.

Davis was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014, and previously said his cancer was in remission after doctors removed his big and small intestines. His mother died from the same disease in 1978, when he was 15 years old.

What has he said about the murder of Tupac?

In his memoir “Compton Street Legend,” published in 2019, Davis said he and his crew were in Vegas with plans to watch Mike Tyson fight Bruce Seldon. After Tyson knocked Seldon out in the first round, Davis and his group planned to go out on the Strip, before they learned Davis’ cousin Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson had been jumped by members of the Death Row Records camp while walking in the lobby of the MGM Grand.

With revenge on their minds, Davis and crew set out in search of Knight and Shakur. Davis wrote in the book that he tossed the gun he’d been given into the backseat of the white Cadillac in which Anderson and DeAndre Smith sat. Hours later, they spotted the Death Row caravan stopped at a red light, with Tupac waving to fans while hanging out of the window of a BMW.

“The next few seconds all happened so quickly,” Davis wrote. “Tupac made an erratic move and began to reach down beneath the seat ... and that’s when the fireworks started. One of my guys from the back seat grabbed the Glock and started bustin’ back.”

“The first shot skinned Suge in the head,” he continuned. “I thought the m—f— was dead. I heard stories that Suge supposedly used Tupac as a shield when the bullets started flying. But that’s some bulls—. Suge was already wounded. ... As the rounds continued flying, I ducked down so that I wouldn’t get hit.”


What happened after the shooting?

Las Vegas and Los Angeles police, along with federal agencies, pursued multiple investigations into the shooting, but no one had been arrested until now. In 1998, Anderson, who’d been named a suspect but was never charged, died in an unrelated gang shootout in Compton.

Smith also has died since the Vegas shooting.

Did Davis ever say who shot Tupac?

Speaking with then-LAPD Detective Greg Kading, Davis alleged Anderson was the one who fired the fatal shot.

“He leaned over, and Orlando rolled down the window, and popped him,” Davis said. “If they would have drove on my side, I would have popped them. But they was on the other side.”

Does Davis regret what happened?

In “Compton Street Legend,” Davis revealed his retrospective feelings on the murder.

“At this point in my life, I can say that I have a deep sense of remorse for what happened to Tupac,” he said. “He was a talented artist with tons of potential to impact the world. I hate that Tupac’s family, friends and fans, especially his mother, Afeni Shakur, had to go through the pain of losing her son. It’s terrible losing people like that; I know that pain too well.

“However, I stand firm on the point that Tupac, Suge Knight and the rest of those n— didn’t have any business putting their hands on my beloved nephew, Baby Lane,” he continued. “Period. Them jumping on my nephew gave us the ultimate green light to do something to their a—.”

Times reporter Richard Winton contributed to this report.