Monday, Sept. 16, 1996 | 11:59 a.m.
Now that rap star Tupac Shakur has died from wounds he suffered in a shooting just blocks off the Las Vegas Strip, his friends say retaliation is imminent.
Shakur, 25, died Friday afternoon, six days after a car-to-car shooting of him and Marion "Suge" Knight, 31, chairman of Los Angeles-based Death Row Records, after the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon heavyweight boxing match.
A white Cadillac with four men inside pulled up next to them on East Flamingo Road at Koval Lane and a gunman emptied a semiautomatic pistol into the passenger side of the car, hitting Shakur four times in the chest and abdomen.
Metro Police believe Shakur was the target. Knight was slightly injured from bullet fragments.
Shakur, known as 2Pac but whose real name is Lesane Crooks, was pronounced dead at 4:03 p.m. Friday at University Medical Center. He died of respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest, a hospital spokesman said. An autopsy was performed Friday night.
Friends grieving at the hospital suggested they know who murdered him.
Mourners, including Knight, milled around the hospital comforting each other, even after a mortuary van took Skakur's body to the Clark County coroner's office an hour after he died.
Shakur lingered in a coma and was nonresponsive until he died, a friend at the hospital said. Police were never able to interview him.
A friend of Shakur, a Las Vegas resident who goes by the name of Marcos, met Shakur 18 months ago.
Marcos last talked with Shakur on Sept. 7 at the MGM Grand after the Tyson-Seldon fight. Shakur offered to give him a ride to Club 662, where his entourage was headed for an anti-violence fund-raiser, Marcos said.
"I said, 'I'll meet you there, man.' He never made it," Marcos said.
Witnesses to the shooting, including Knight, have frustrated police because they have provided few details about the shooters and possible motives.
"Nobody wants to help the police," Marcos said. "What for? What are they going to do? I'm just saying that whoever did this is going to get found. The people who find him, I don't know what they'll do, but they'll do something."
A family friend at the hospital said, "You're not going to hear any talk about retaliation here. That'll come later."
Marcos, when asked if the assailants would eventually leak information that they shot Shakur, said, "They already have."
He declined to say where the purported suspects live, only that "they're not from Las Vegas."