|March 14, 1997
Behind the scenes of 'Unsolved' Shakur mystery
By Cathy Scott
LAS VEGAS SUN
Who shot Tupac Shakur?
That's been the unanswered question since he was mortally wounded in
September near the Las Vegas Strip, and now it's being asked in March
14th's "Unsolved Mysteries" (8 p.m., NBC).
When a producer from "Unsolved Mysteries" called last year and asked
me to go on camera, my first response was, "Don't you have anyone else
you can interview?"
They did. But they wanted me, they said, because I was the lead
reporter on the story. I agreed to go on, and they said they'd be in
Then "America's Most Wanted" ran its own segment, and "Unsolved" put
its plans on hold. In December, producers began working again on the
unsolved Shakur murder.
Producer Cord Keller came to Las Vegas just before Christmas for a
pre-interview with me. Then in February, producers and a film crew
arrived from their Burbank, Calif., studios, rented a black BMW and a
white Cadillac, and staged a re-enactment of the Sept. 7 shooting at the
location -- East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane. They interviewed me for 2
1/2 hours on a studio set in a hotel room.
Also interviewed were two friends of Shakur's. One gives her account
of the rivalry between Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., who was murdered
Sunday in Los Angeles in a shooting that rings all too familiar to the
Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. were two of the top names in rap music,
and both were shot to death in what some are calling gang-style hits.
For six months, Metro homicide detectives have investigated Shakur's
murder. They didn't want to be interviewed for the "Unsolved" piece,
saying the publicity wouldn't help them solve the crime.
The "Unsolved" program covers the complicated case well, laying out
the scenario with its re-enactment near the busy Strip. The show melds
videotape of the actual scene following the shooting with a reenactment
of the earlier incident, making it appear like the real thing, from
beginning to end.
Notorious B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace and also known as "Biggie
Smalls," was shot to death Sunday outside a party. Like Tupac, he was
sitting in the passenger seat of a car after a well-attended event when
a gunman in a car drove by and opened fire.
Tupac and Biggie each performed for record labels that were the
targets of federal investigations. The nights they were killed, each was
with their record label producers (Tupac was with Marion "Suge" Knight,
owner of Death Row Records on the West Coast, and Biggie was with Puffy
Combs, owner of Bad Boy Entertainment on the East Coast).
Are the killings connected? That's one of three questions narrator
Robert Stack poses on "Unsolved Mysteries."
"Today, disturbing questions haunt the investigation," Stack says.
"Why were Tupac's trusted bodyguards unarmed? Why did the killer seem to
target only Shakur? Why was no one willing to talk? In the midst of the
jam-packed Las Vegas Strip, how did the gunman know where Tupac would
So far, no one's gone to jail. Senior Producer Judy Storch is hoping
tipsters will call in with information leading to Shakur's assailant.
Storch said that while Metro opted not to comment for the program, they
did tell her they would be happy to look at any tips the show receives.