March 14, 1997
Behind the scenes of 'Unsolved' Shakur mystery
LAS VEGAS SUN
Who shot Tupac Shakur?
That's been the unanswered question since he was mortally
wounded in September near the Las Vegas Strip, and now it's being
asked in March 14th's "Unsolved Mysteries" (8 p.m.,
When a producer from "Unsolved Mysteries" called
last year and asked me to go on camera, my first response was,
"Don't you have anyone else you can interview?"
They did. But they wanted me, they said, because I was the
lead reporter on the story. I agreed to go on, and they said
they'd be in touch.
Then "America's Most Wanted" ran its own segment,
and "Unsolved" put its plans on hold. In December,
producers began working again on the unsolved Shakur murder.
Producer Cord Keller came to Las Vegas just before Christmas
for a pre-interview with me. Then in February, producers and a
film crew arrived from their Burbank, Calif., studios, rented a
black BMW and a white Cadillac, and staged a re-enactment of the
Sept. 7 shooting at the location -- East Flamingo Road and Koval
Lane. They interviewed me for 2 1/2 hours on a studio set in a
Also interviewed were two friends of Shakur's. One gives her
account of the rivalry between Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., who
was murdered Sunday in Los Angeles in a shooting that rings all
too familiar to the Shakur shooting.
Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. were two of the top names in rap
music, and both were shot to death in what some are calling
For six months, Metro homicide detectives have investigated
Shakur's murder. They didn't want to be interviewed for the
"Unsolved" piece, saying the publicity wouldn't help
them solve the crime.
The "Unsolved" program covers the complicated case
well, laying out the scenario with its re-enactment near the busy
Strip. The show melds videotape of the actual scene following the
shooting with a reenactment of the earlier incident, making it
appear like the real thing, from beginning to end.
Notorious B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace and also known as
"Biggie Smalls," was shot to death Sunday outside a
party. Like Tupac, he was sitting in the passenger seat of a car
after a well-attended event when a gunman in a car drove by and
Tupac and Biggie each performed for record labels that were
the targets of federal investigations. The nights they were
killed, each was with their record label producers (Tupac was
with Marion "Suge" Knight, owner of Death Row Records
on the West Coast, and Biggie was with Puffy Combs, owner of Bad
Boy Entertainment on the East Coast).
Are the killings connected? That's one of three questions
narrator Robert Stack poses on "Unsolved Mysteries."
"Today, disturbing questions haunt the
investigation," Stack says. "Why were Tupac's trusted
bodyguards unarmed? Why did the killer seem to target only
Shakur? Why was no one willing to talk? In the midst of the
jam-packed Las Vegas Strip, how did the gunman know where Tupac
So far, no one's gone to jail. Senior Producer Judy Storch is
hoping tipsters will call in with information leading to Shakur's
assailant. Storch said that while Metro opted not to comment for
the program, they did tell her they would be happy to look at any
tips the show receives.