February 05, 1997
Shakur's mother rips Metro Police
LAS VEGAS SUN
Afeni Shakur, mother of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, has
publicly chastised Metro Police for not finding her son's killer
and not keeping her informed about the case.
Afeni Shakur's spokesman, New York attorney Rick Fischbein,
told the SUN, "It's an outrage that Las Vegas police are
sitting around waiting for a suspect to come to them."
Afeni Shakur, who lives in Atlanta, also told "Prime Time
Live," which airs tonight on ABC, that Metro Police have yet
to talk to her about the case.
"I believe that had she been anyone else, they would have
had the courtesy to call her," Fischbein said. "God
forbid, if it were the son of a prominent citizen of Las Vegas,
she is certain that the police would keep in contact at least to
tell her what is going on."
But homicide Lt. Wayne Petersen denied that, saying that
Shakur's mother, when contacted by Metro detectives, refused to
"The first time we contacted Mrs. Shakur she would not
talk to us," Petersen said. "All of the other contacts
were made through her attorney."
Shakur, one of rap's most popular and notorious singers and a
successful film star, was gunned down Sept. 7 on East Flamingo
Road near the Strip as he sat at a stoplight in a car driven by
record label owner Marion "Suge" Knight. Knight, 31,
received a minor head wound from shrapnel. Shakur, who was shot
three times, died six days later at University Medical Center.
Shots were fired at the passenger side of Knight's rented BMW
from a white late-model Cadillac at Flamingo and Koval Lane,
after Shakur and his associates attended the Mike Tyson-Bruce
Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand.
As the shooters fled, Knight made a U-turn and headed back to
the Strip, where he was stopped by Metro bicycle patrol officers
at Harmon Avenue along with four cars from the entourage. Members
of the entourage, which included rap associates and bodyguards,
did not cooperate with the police, Manning said.
Fischbein said Afeni Shakur believes that if she were a
prominent Las Vegan, police would have kept her informed on the
progress of the investigation.
"Afeni's comment is, it's not going to bring her son back
if they catch the killers or they don't catch them,"
Fischbein said. "On the other hand, it would be nice if the
Las Vegas police department tried because that would be the right
thing to do. It would show that it doesn't matter who you are, if
you get shot, the police are going to be there to do
Homicide Sgt. Kevin Manning disagreed.
"We'd like to solve every case," he said. "In
this particular case, there's personal pride and organizational
pride involved. We'd love to put handcuffs on somebody. Once
again, it comes back to that until somebody has the courage to
take the witness stand and put themselves in front of the
prosecution and defense attorneys to answer hard questions, the
case is at a standstill."
Manning said drive-by cases aren't always easy to solve,
calling criticism of the investigation "unwarranted."
"This isn't like you have fiber evidence and hair
evidence," Manning said. "You're talking about a
drive-by shooting that leaves very little evidence behind."
Manning also defended the handling of witnesses in Shakur's
entourage who were ordered out of their cars and put face down on
the ground by officers arriving on the scene.
"The witnesses were all isolated when we got there,"
he said. "When the cars were stopped, the guys handled it
until they were able to know what was going on."
Manning said investigators on the case "have exhausted
just about every lead we've received, including the ones that
have taken us off on tangents."
Manning criticized a recent front-page article in the Los
Angeles Times that quoted unnamed sources from Los Angeles area
law enforcement criticizing his investigation.
"No one has come forward," Manning said.
"Nobody appears willing to take the witness stand and point
an accusatory finger at any one or any group of people. ... All
the police do is put the package together for prosecution. You
nor I can go in and testify to an event that occurred. I can't go
into court with an unnamed source."
Compton Police Chief Hourie Taylor declined comment, saying,
"Our official statement is we developed some information
that we thought would be useful to Las Vegas police."
Petersen said investigators would love to "bring the
killers to justice" and defended the officers who first
arrived because they had to preserve the crime scene for
Fischbein said part of the reason Shakur's associates did not
cooperate was because they were treated like criminals.
Fischbein, acknowledging that "it was probably total
chaos that night," said that officers "took the wrong
people out of cars and held them face down in the street."
"It did not endear any of the people at that moment to
the police," Fischbein said. "Let's say they're not the
most sensitive police force in America."
"Columbo would have followed up. It's a circus act out
there that's working on this case. There's an attempt to turn Las
Vegas into Disney World of the West. When you're turning it into
Disney World, it's not good business to have a gang drive-by
murder on the lawn to the queen's castle. This is not their first
Investigators, however, have said they believe they know who
killed Shakur but that they don't have enough evidence to arrest
Detectives were hopeful that an interview of Orlando Anderson,
22, arrested in Los Angeles during an Oct. 2 gang sweep, would
provide new evidence.
Anderson was held in Los Angeles for questioning by Metro
detectives in connection with the Shakur shooting and a 1994 Los
Angeles murder. He has not been charged in either case.
Fischbein did compliment Metro for its handling of Anderson.
"I have no criticism of them for not arresting someone
when they don't believe they have enough evidence to
convict," Fischbein said. "In fact, you have to applaud
the police when they show that kind of restraint."