Prosecutors charge suspect in 1996 shooting of US rapper Tupac Shakur

Rapper Tupac Shakur at the MTV Music Video Awards in New York City, September 4, 1996. REUTERS/Mike Segar

(Reuters) - A Nevada grand jury has indicted a former gang leader with the murder of hip-hop star Tupac Shakur three decades ago, a breakthrough in a case that was a defining moment in the history of rap.

Duane "Keffe D" Davis was charged with one count of murder with a deadly weapon, Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo announced in court on Friday. Davis was arrested outside his home on Friday morning and was in police custody, DiGiacomo said.

Reuters was unable to reach Davis and it was unclear whether he had secured legal representation.

Shakur was wounded in a drive-by shooting near the Las Vegas Strip on Sept. 7, 1996. He died in a hospital six days later at the age of 25.

Davis had admitted in interviews and in his 2019 tell-all memoir, “Compton Street Legend,” that he was in the Cadillac from which the gunfire erupted during the shooting.

In July, police said they had searched a house outside Las Vegas in connection with Shakur's killing.

Shakur was an award-winning rapper, activist and actor who sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

He was best known for raw lyrics laced with violence, sex and profanity describing life in the ghetto. His album "All Eyez on Me," released shortly before his death, celebrated his own outlaw image.

Beloved by his fans -- and detested by politicians -- for songs that celebrated violence and misogyny, Shakur was no stranger to trouble, having spent much of his last two-and-a-half years in court, prison or hospitals.

The violent last chapter in his life came when the rap star and friends were driving to a nightclub in a convoy after watching the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon world heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas.

When the black BMW Shakur was riding in stopped at a traffic light, a white Cadillac pulled up alongside and a gunman inside fired at least nine bullets, apparently aimed at the passenger seat where Shakur was sitting. The singer and actor was hit four times.

Marion "Suge" Knight, co-founder of Los Angeles-based Death Row Records who produced Shakur's records, was driving the BMW. He was grazed in the head by a bullet fragment but suffered only minor injuries.

Shakur became more popular in death than in life. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Costas Pitas; Editing by Susan Heavey, Jonathan Oatis, Leslie Adler and Daniel Wallis)

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