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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Rapper's family denies murder theory
Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur was murdered in 1996
A newspaper investigation into the murder of rapper Tupac Shakur has been met with anger by the family of the man accused of ordering his killing.

The Los Angeles Times recently claimed Shakur's rap rival Notorious BIG gave hitmen a gun and paid them $1m (638,000) to carry out the killing.

Notorious BIG
Notorious BIG was killed six months after Shakur
But the family of Notorious BIG - real name Christopher Wallace - have dismissed the report as "patently false" and "irresponsible".

Shakur was shot in Las Vegas in September 1996 and Wallace was killed six months later.

Neither murder has been solved.

The LA Times said Shakur was killed by a 21-year-old gang member, Orlando Anderson, who had been paid by Wallace.

The paper said Wallace had given Anderson a gun on the night that Shakur was killed.

But Wallace's family say he was at home in New Jersey on the night of the shooting and could not have given his gun to Anderson.

"This false story is a disrespect to not only our family but the family of Tupac Shakur. Both men will have no peace as long as stories such as these continue to be written," the statement said.

'Inflame passions'

The day after the LA Times story appeared, Wallace's friend, rapper 'Lil Cease, told a New York radio station that he was with Wallace at Wallace's home on the night that Shakur was killed.

Rap mogul Russell Simmons said the LA Times report "does more to inflame passions and emotions than to clear the air with actual facts concerning the tragic murder of Tupac Shakur six years ago".

There has always been speculation Shakur, from the west coast of the US, died because of his rivalry with Wallace, an east coast-based rapper.

Gang violence also claimed Anderson's life.

Gang members

Anderson has often been cited as the prime suspect in Shakur's killing, but police said they could not make a case as witnesses in Shakur's entourage would not help them.

During the investigation, reporters said they interviewed gang members from Anderson's gang, the infamous Southside Crips, who had not previously spoken out.

The paper's investigation took police affidavits, court records and interviews with witnesses to conclude Crips gang members spoke to Wallace in order to gain financially from a killing they had already decided to carry out.

Shakur and Wallace had been good friends but had fallen out and began a very public feud.

Beatings

According to the paper, on the night of his death, Shakur and his bodyguards attacked Anderson in a hotel in revenge for an attack on one of the entourage at a shopping centre.

Instead of speaking to the police, Anderson rang gang members, met in a hotel room and decided to kill Shakur the same night, the paper went on.

They then met Wallace and demanded $1m - according to people who said they were present - which the rapper allegedly agreed to on the condition they used his .40-calibre pistol.

Just days before Wallace himself was fatally shot in 1997, asked by a radio station host whether he had been involved, the rapper said he "wasn't that powerful yet".

The LA Times said they asked for a comment from Wallace's mother before publication - but that she declined after taking legal advice.

See also:

06 Sep 02 | Entertainment
12 Apr 02 | Entertainment
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12 Jun 01 | Entertainment
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