Man named as suspect in death of Shakur sues the rapper’s estate

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

A reputed Los Angeles gang member once named by police as a suspect in the murder of Tupac Shakur has filed a lawsuit against the slain rap star’s estate--a year and a day after Shakur was gunned down.

Orlando Anderson’s lawsuit contends that he was assaulted by the rapper and several Death Row Records employees in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas just hours before Shakur was gunned down. No arrests have been made.

It is unusual for gang disputes to end up in civil lawsuits, but Anderson’s action is particularly surprising because it could subject him to renewed scrutiny in connection with Shakur’s death.


Shakur, one of the brightest stars in rap and a budding actor, was fatally wounded just off the Las Vegas Strip by gunfire while riding in a car driven by Death Row founder Marion “Suge” Knight. Ever since, there has been widespread speculation about the relationship between the killing and the MGM altercation.

The suit, filed late Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, also names Death Row and Knight as defendants, and alleges that Anderson suffered physical injuries and severe emotional and mental distress.

Representatives for Shakur’s estate and Death Row declined comment Tuesday.

Renee L. Campbell, who represents Anderson, acknowledged that her client was told last fall that he was a suspect in Shakur’s killing, but denied that he had anything to do with the shooting.

“It is clear that if there is any victim, my client is the victim,” Campbell said.

Knight was sent to prison in February for a probation violation stemming from his role in the assault on Anderson, which was captured on a hotel surveillance videotape. At a hearing last fall, Anderson testified that Knight did not participate in the beating but tried to help stop the attack.

When asked whether Anderson, who is listed in police files as a member of the Southside Crips gang in Compton, had perjured himself on the stand in November, Campbell said her client “testified the way he did out of fear for his safety.”

On the evening of Sept. 7, 1996, Shakur and Knight had gone to the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon heavyweight fight at the MGM. On the way out, Shakur, Knight and several Death Row employees kicked, punched and struck Anderson in the lobby, the lawsuit states.


About three hours later, Shakur and Knight were sitting in Knight’s 750 BMW at a red light when gunfire erupted from a white late-model Cadillac--carrying four men--that had pulled up in the next lane. Shakur died six days later in a Las Vegas hospital.

Before Shakur died, detectives in Las Vegas and Compton were inundated with a flurry of tips from informants contending that Anderson--a Lakewood resident who goes by such gang monikers as “Lando” and “Lane”--was responsible for the rapper’s shooting, according to a Compton police affidavit prepared Sept. 25 to obtain search warrants for a pending gang raid.

According to the affidavit, the ruckus in the MGM lobby was the result of gang rivalry between Death Row-affiliated members of the Mob Piru Bloods and the Southside Crips, of which Anderson and several of his relatives are allegedly members. Anderson was attacked, the affidavit said, because he had allegedly stolen a gold chain from one of the Death Row employees during a gang scuffle a month earlier at a Lakewood mall.

According to the affidavit, Anderson was seen several days after the shooting with a Glock .40-caliber handgun--the same kind of weapon used in the homicide--and his cousin was seen driving a white late-model Cadillac into an auto shop in Compton. That same week, Las Vegas detectives examined a box of .40-caliber rounds confiscated by Compton police from a residence where Anderson’s cousin was living. They also confiscated weapons from a Compton residence of Anderson’s uncle, Dwayne Keith “Keefee D” Davis, who sources said is listed in police files as a member of the Southside Crips.

During an Oct. 2 gang raid triggered by shootings after Shakur’s death, Anderson was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant stemming from a slaying in Compton unrelated to Shakur’s death. A Las Vegas detective who participated in the raid told Anderson that he was a suspect in Shakur’s shooting, according to Anderson’s former attorney, Edi M.O. Faal.

Anderson was released Oct. 4 after Los Angeles prosecutors declined to file charges against him for the Compton slaying. In February, Las Vegas police told The Times that Anderson was still considered a suspect in Shakur’s shooting. But the investigation remains stalled.


“The allegations against my client in the affidavit are totally unfounded,” Campbell said.

Police say they had no subsequent contact with Anderson. But the name of his uncle, Davis, resurfaced several months later during the investigation of the killing of Shakur’s musical rival, Christopher Wallace, a New York rap star known as Notorious B.I.G. who was gunned down March 9 outside of the Petersen Automotive Museum in the Mid-Wilshire district.

In May, Los Angeles investigators seized Davis’ Chevy Impala from his girlfriend’s house in Compton. The two-door sedan matched the description of the car used in Wallace’s shooting.

Police have not returned the vehicle. Sources say investigators interviewed Davis in June but told him that he is not a suspect in Wallace’s murder. No arrests have been made in the case.

Investigators have been focusing on the idea that Wallace’s shooting stemmed from a personal dispute with a Compton gang member--possibly the result of an unpaid security bill, sources said. Police sources said that Wallace and his record company chairman, Sean “Puffy” Combs, often employed members of the Southside Crips as security--an allegation Combs adamantly denies.

During an interview in June with police, Davis told investigators that he met Wallace nearly two years before the rapper was slain, sources said. The two were introduced by a mutual friend after a concert in Anaheim.

The friend, a drug dealer from Harlem, brought Davis to Wallace’s hotel after the show and told the rapper that he could provide protection in Los Angeles for Wallace’s entourage should he ever need it, sources said. Wallace turned down the offer, explaining that his record company had already hired bodyguards, sources said.


Davis told police that he also attended the March music industry party at the Petersen Museum and spoke with Wallace and several members of his entourage less than an hour before the rapper was shot, sources said.

Davis could not be reached for comment. Attorney Faal denied the suggestion that Davis had anything to do with Wallace’s murder.

Law enforcement sources say investigators have not uncovered any evidence that Wallace’s murder was connected to the Shakur slaying.