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Shakur was target of shooting, police say

September 14, 1996
Web posted at: 11:15 p.m. EDT


LAS VEGAS (CNN) -- Rapper Tupac Shakur, who died Friday of gunshot wounds, was the target of the shooting that led to his death, Las Vegas police believe.

Shakur was hit by four bullets September 7 as he rode near the Las Vegas strip in a car driven by the head of Death Row Records, Marion "Suge" Knight, who was slightly wounded.

"Thirteen or 14 rounds were fired; almost all went into the passenger side of the vehicle," said Las Vegas police spokesman Phil Roland. "We feel pretty sure that Shakur was the target."


The shots were fired from a white Cadillac with two or three males inside, investigators said. But details remains sketchy, because those riding in Shakur's 10-car entourage have not been forthcoming as witnesses.

"All of the people seem to be looking somewhere else and didn't see much," Roland said.

Shakur's death, which occurred after his right lung was removed, could hinder the investigation into the shooting.

"He was going to be one of our key witnesses," Roland said. Police are investigating a reported rivalry between East and West Coast rappers, and they are looking into the business dealings of the rap music world. Possible gang links in Las Vegas or Los Angeles are also being investigated.

Shakur's fans Saturday mourned his death, and there was been widespread reflection on the meaning of his brief life and death and the inherent violence of the gangsta rap culture he espoused.

"This is so, so sad," the Rev. Jesse Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. "Sometimes the lure of violent culture is so magnetic that even when one overcomes it with material success, it continues to call. He couldn't break the cycle."

CNN Correspondent Jim Hill in Los Angeles and Reuters contributed to this report.


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