US police have charged a former gang leader with the 1996 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur, a breakthrough in a long-running case still gripping the public.
The New York-born hip-hop legend was shot four times aged 25 in a drive-by attack in Las Vegas.
On Friday, Nevada’s grand jury indicted Duane “Keffe D” Davis, 60, on one count of murder with a deadly weapon.
Police say he planned the deadly shooting after his nephew was involved in a fight with Shakur in a casino.
Davis was arrested near his Las Vegas home early on Friday, and will appear in court within days. Las Vegas police (LVMPD) have shared his mugshot.
Greg Kading, a retired Los Angeles police detective who spent years investigating Shakur’s murder, told the Associated Press he is not surprised by Mr Davis’ arrest.”All the other direct conspirators or participants are all dead,” Mr Kading said, calling Mr Davis “the last man standing” in the case.
In court, prosecutor Marc DiaGiacomo described Mr Davis – a former leader of the South Side Compton Crips street gang – as the “on-ground, on-site commander” who “ordered the death” of Shakur.
At a news conference later on Friday, police officer Jason Johansson said the force’s persistence in the investigation had “ultimately paid off”, before explaining what led to the breakthrough.
He said Orlando Anderson, the suspect’s late nephew, and Shakur had been involved in a fight in a casino shortly before the rapper was shot on 7 September 1996. He died in hospital a few days later.
Mr Johansson showed reporters hotel security camera footage of Anderson being beaten. He said this ultimately led to the retaliatory shooting of Shakur as he was waiting in his car at a red light.
The officer added it became obvious very quickly that this was a gang-related crime, and the case had been reviewed multiple times.
But it was not until 2018, when new information came to light, that the case was “reinvigorated”.
Mr Johansson also mentioned Mr Davis’s “own admissions” to media outlets that he was in the vehicle where the shots were fired from.
At the same press conference, a visibly emotional Sheriff Kevin McMahill said that “for 27 years the family of Tupac Shakur have been waiting for justice”.
“There have been many people who did not believe that the murder of Tupac Shakur was important to this police department. I’m here to tell you: that was simply not the case.”
“Our goal at LVMPD has always been to hold those… responsible for Tupac’s violent murder accountable,” the sheriff added.
Shakur, whose stage name was stylised as 2Pac, released his debut album in 1991.
One of the most acclaimed names in hip-hop, his death inspired several documentaries.
He sold more than 75 million records worldwide, enjoying chart success with hits including California Love, All Eyez On Me and Changes.
He also found success acting in films like Juice, Poetic Justice, Above The Rim, Gridlock’d and Gang Related.