LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Who is “Keffe D,” the 60-year-old man indicted Friday in the Sept. 7, 1996, shooting death of Tupac Shakur?
Much of what’s known about Duane “Keffe D” Davis comes from his 2019 book, “Compton Street Legend.” It’s the story of an admitted gang member who “rose up the gang-banging ranks to become a shot-caller for the notorious Southside Compton Crips, wile running a multi-million dollar, multi-state drug empire,” part of the book’s marketing on Amazon.
Now, Davis is in the Clark County Detention Center, facing a charge of murder with a deadly weapon.
Here are some basic facts about Davis, along with the events of Shakur’s shooting, one of the most infamous crimes in Las Vegas history:
Name: Duane “Keffe D” Davis
Born: June 14, 1963, in Compton, California
Gang affiliation: South Side Crips
He’s been living in Henderson near where Wagon Wheel Drive meets Interstate 11 in the far southeast corner of the valley — about 18 miles from the place where Tupac was shot.
A neighbor, Robert Brennan, said, “I didn’t know there was an arrest this morning. This is a quiet neighborhood. I’ve been here 20-some years, you know. Never had any problems. I had no problems with them either. I had no idea they were there.”
The neighborhood is known as Section 27.
“Yeah, several of the other neighbors are surprised too. It’s, I guess, exciting,” Brennan said.
Davis was a boyhood friend of Marion “Suge” Knight, who was also a South Side Crips member. They played football together. Knight would go on to play football at UNLV for two years. He has since been linked with the Mob Piru Bloods.
Years later, Knight was driving the car in Las Vegas with Tupac Shakur as a passenger when a white Cadillac pulled alongside him. It was near the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane. Davis was in the Cadillac, with Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson and DeAndre Smith in the back seat.
WHY WAS TUPAC SHOT?
“Compton Street Legend” offers a reason for the confrontation between Davis and Shakur — a fight that occurred hours before the shooting.
It was a big night in Las Vegas. Mike Tyson was in the ring, and that was a big draw for celebrities. Tyson knocked out Bruce Seldon that night.
Davis and others were going to the Strip after the fight. But they found out Anderson had been jumped in the lobby of the MGM Grand. Members of the Death Row Records group were blamed.
Davis never took responsibility for the shooting. A Los Angeles Times report indicates he told detectives that Anderson fired the fatal shot. But in the years since, he hasn’t talked about the shooter. Anderson died in a gang shootout in Compton in 1998.
KEFFE D AND SUGE KNIGHT
Knight has lived his life in the public eye, founding Death Row Records and moving in the same circles as Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Davis hasn’t been as public, but the 2019 book changed that — and likely kindled renewed interest from law enforcement.
In promoting the book, Davis posted this on social media on Dec. 5, 2018:
“Compton Street Legend: Keffe D is my name. Suge Knight and I are the only living eyewitnesses to what truly happened on September 7th, 1996 on the Vegas strip between the occupants of our two vehicles — a deadly confrontation that would change Hip Hop history and my life forever.”
HIP HOP RIVALS
During years that preceded the 1996 shooting, a war played out between hip hop rivals in New York and the West Coast. Shakur and rival The Notorious B.I.G. are considered casualties in that war.
Widespread reports indicate rap mogul Sean Combs put out a hit on Shakur, offering $1 million for his death. Through the years, he’s been known as “Puff Daddy,” “Puffy,” “P. Diddy” and just “Diddy.” He denies ever putting out a hit.
Davis said in his book he regrets his dealings with Puffy. “If I wouldn’t have ever met him, I wouldn’t have ever been involved in this [expletive],” he stated. “I would’ve never met the brother. I never would’ve been involved in this [expletive]. Me and Suge, we played on the same pop warner team and everything. My home boys helped put Suge in the game.”