September 7

This Day in History

Crime

Sep 7, 1996:

Tupac Shakur is shot

Actor and hip-hop recording artist Tupac Shakur is shot several times in Las Vegas, Nevada, after attending a boxing match. Shakur was riding in a black BMW with Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight when a white Cadillac sedan pulled alongside and fired into Shakur's car. Knight was only grazed in the head, but Shakur was hit several times. He died in a hospital several days later.

Although Shakur's killer was never identified, some believe Orlando Anderson, a member of the Los Angeles gang Southside Crips, was responsible. Earlier in the evening, prior to the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon heavyweight fight, Anderson had been attacked in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel by a group from Death Row Records, including Suge Knight. When a videotape of the attack came to light, Knight, who was out on parole at the time, had to return to prison to serve out a nine-year sentence. Suspecting revenge as a motive, Shakur's mother filed suit against Anderson for her son's death; but the case was never resolved because Anderson was shot to death in May 1998 in a shoot-out outside a Los Angeles car wash.

Shakur had been involved in a string of violent encounters before the shooting in Las Vegas. In 1993, he was convicted of assault and battery after an attack on a music video producer. That same year, a limousine driver claimed that Shakur had severely beaten him. In 1995, while on trial for sexually abusing a young woman in a hotel room, Shakur was shot five times during an alleged robbery attempt at a New York recording studio. He was later convicted of sexual assault. In 1996, he was sent to prison for violating probation and for failure to complete his mandated community service.

Before his death, Shakur was also the defendant in a couple of civil lawsuits. When Ronald Ray Howard shot a Texas state trooper to death after listening to Shakur's songs in 1993, the trooper's widow filed suit against Shakur for manufacturing and distributing music that allegedly incited "imminent lawless action." In October 1994, two 17-year-old kids in Milwaukee killed a police officer in a sniper attack after claiming they had been "geeked up" by Shakur's music.

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