The Pitiless Killing of Tupac Shakur

Lesane Parish Crooks aka Tupac Shakur left an impression on America culture well beyond his twenty-five years. His brief life was spectacularly tragic.

Lesane Parish Crooks was born in 1971 in East Harlem. Both of his parents were active members of the Black Panther Party. Crooks was born one month after his mother was acquitted of 150 charges of Conspiracy against the United States Government and New York Landmarks.

A young Tupac Shakur was raised by radical criminals.

His parents later changed his name to Tupac Amaru II, so named after an 18th-century Peruvian revolutionary executed for leading an indigenous uprising against the Spaniards.

Tupac’s stepfather, former acupuncturist Mutulu Shakur, was a convicted murderer who remains incarcerated today.

Tupac’s childhood was awash in criminals. His godfather was convicted of murdering a schoolteacher during a robbery in 1968. His stepfather Mutulu Shakur spent four years at large on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. Mutulu was ultimately convicted of robbing an armored truck and subsequently killing two police officers and a Brinks guard.

As an adolescent Tupac Shakur showed a natural intelligence and a proclivity for the arts.

Despite this colorful family milieu, a young Tupac Shakur was a natural showman. He studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet, earning parts in a variety of Shakespeare plays as well as The Nutcracker. While in art school Shakur joined the Baltimore Young Communist League USA.

As a teenager, Tupac’s family moved the West Coast. This move set the stage for his skyrocketing music career and ultimately his early death.

At age seventeen Shakur and his family moved from Baltimore to the West Coast. There he studied poetry and started a performance group titled “Strictly Dope.” In 1990 an agent saw Tupac on stage and signed him as a dancer with the hip-hop group “Digital Underground.” Young Tupac’s fuse was lit.

Anger, Violence, Music

Tupac Shakur was a product of his broken environment.

Tupac’s pervasive anger came through in his music. His first solo album hit the streets in 1991 and was titled 2Pacalypse Now. While the nuances of rap music escape me, that title does seem fairly cool.

Tupac’s music glorified the violent stylized glamor of the modern gangster.

Subsequent works included Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., Me Against the World, and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. In late 1993 Shakur formed a group called “Thug Life.” His songs included Bury Me a G, Cradle to the Grave, How Long Will They Mourn Me?, and Str8 Ballin. Along the way Shakur earned critical acclaim as one of the most influential rap artists of all time.

Shakur’s profane lyrics and overt sexism made him some powerful cultural enemies.

Tupac’s lyrics were awash in themes of violence, substance abuse, and the objectification of women, earning the disdain of, among others, Vice President Dan Quayle. Much of his work was deemed too violent or profane for public release. Most of this material was published posthumously.

The world Tupac lived in was awash in violence.

Reading about this guy’s exploits was like researching the life of a radical Islamist. Perceived slights frequently escalated into violence, and nobody had a sense of humor. At a 1992 post-performance confrontation Shakur drew his Colt Mustang .380. In the chaos, he dropped the gun and a member of his entourage retrieved it. The weapon discharged, striking a six-year-old boy who was riding his bike on a nearby school playground in the forehead. Investigators were unable to prosecute the case for lack of cooperating witnesses. Tupac ultimately settled a wrongful death suit with the poor kid’s parents for half a million dollars.

Tupac Shakur shot and wounded a pair of off-duty cops but was not prosecuted.

Shakur had regular run-ins with both criminals and Law Enforcement. He once wounded a pair of intoxicated off-duty police officers out celebrating with their wives. Both parties exchanged gunfire, but, as the cops were both drunk and in possession of stolen firearms, all charges were dropped.

In 1994 Shakur was robbed and shot five times by three assailants in the lobby of a recording studio. He left the hospital against medical advice three hours after surgery. The following day he entered a courtroom in a wheelchair to be convicted of sexual assault.

Prison changed Shakur and not for the better.

Shakur entered prison on Valentines Day 1995. Shortly thereafter Me Against the World hit the streets and rocketed to Number 1. Tupac Shakur became the only singer in history to release a Number 1 record while incarcerated. While in prison Shakur occupied himself studying war, philosophy, and military strategy. After his release friends described him as darker and more brooding than before.  

The Killing

Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson was a member of the Southside Compton Crips and a prime suspect in Tupac’s death.

The origins of Shakur’s death actually began in a Foot Locker store. Early in 1996 a gang member named Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson had, along with a few associates, attacked and robbed a member of Shakur’s entourage in a shoe store. While in Las Vegas Tupac encountered Anderson in the lobby of the MGM Grand hotel. A row ensued and Shakur and his entourage apparently pummeled Anderson vigorously.

Record producer Suge Knight was driving the night Tupac was gunned down.

Shakur then struck out for a nightclub in a black 1996 BMW 750iL sedan owned by Suge Knight. Knight’s vehicle was part of a larger convoy of vehicles containing Shakur’s straphangers and security operatives. At 1115 pm Knight’s BMW stopped at a traffic light on the Las Vegas strip. A late model white Cadillac pulled up alongside the right aspect of the BMW, and an unknown assailant produced a Glock 22 .40-caliber pistol. The shooter loosed four rounds at close range, all of which connected. Tupac was hit twice in the chest, once in the arm, and once in the thigh. One of the rounds shredded Shakur’s right lung. Suge Knight was struck in the forehead by a bullet fragment.

As assassinations go that of Tupac Shakur was executed with remarkable professionalism.

Once in the hospital, Shakur had to be heavily sedated to keep him in his ICU bed. Six days later Tupac died of respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to his multiple gunshot wounds. His body was subsequently cremated. Members of his rap group later mixed some of his ashes with marijuana and smoked them.

The Gun

Gaston Glock’s polymer-framed pistol was thoroughly revolutionary for its day.

In the late 1970’s Gaston Glock produced machinegun links, combat knives, and entrenching tools for the Austrian army. He had no experience designing a firearm. Glock purportedly overheard a discussion between two Austrian Army officers concerning upcoming trials for a new service pistol to replace their vintage P38’s and decided to try his hand at something new.

The Glock pistol changed the way the world made handguns.

Glock assembled a group of experts to determine the salient attributes of the ideal combat handgun. He crafted a working prototype in three months. His novel use of polymers made the new pistol inexpensive to produce and environmentally insensitive. Gaston christened the gun the Glock 17 as it represented the 17th patent earned by his company.

Police surplus Glock pistols like these .40-caliber Glock 22’s are now plentiful and inexpensive.

In 1982 Austrian military and police forces adopted the Glock 17 as the P80. Glock’s revolutionary new pistol beat out eight different handguns from five established manufacturers to include SIG Sauer, Beretta, Browning, and HK. The Glock pistol has since become one of the most popular combat handguns on the planet. As of 2007, there had been more than five million copies produced in sundry calibers and dozens of configurations.

Practical Tactical

One of Glock’s manifest strengths is its simplicity.

A current production Glock 17 has only thirty-four parts and breaks down into five main subassemblies. The gun sports three independently operated mechanical safety systems that the company calls the Glock Safe Action System. Unlike more conventional handguns, the sole external safety of the Glock pistol is built into the trigger itself.

The manual of arms for any Glock is fairly stupid-proof.

Running a Glock is foundational dogma for anyone who might frequent this hallowed website, so I’ll spare you the rehash. The grip-to-frame angle of the Glock is roughly 22 degrees and mimics that of Georg Luger’s P08 Parabellum pistol. By contrast, that of the esteemed 1911 is about 18 degrees. While the more raked Glock design better aligns the recoil vector with the forearm, crusty old guys like me who cut our teeth on the 1911 frequently feel a bit more comfortable with something more acute. Most combat pistols fall into one of these two camps, so there are plenty from which to choose.

The .40 S&W round used to kill Tupac Shakur, shown here between the .45ACP (left) and the 9mm Parabellum, was purpose designed for Law Enforcement use.

Roughly 65% of American cops carry Glock handguns, and the same tactical attributes that make Gaston’s polymer pistol popular with Law Enforcement and military operators endear it to criminals as well. Based upon my informal interviews with shot-up gangsters in an urban ER, possession of a Glock is sufficient to denote one as a thug of distinction.

Denouement

Despite his humble origins, Tupac Shakur became a household name around the globe.

Lesane Parish Crooks was a poor black kid from a poor black neighborhood who suddenly found himself both unimaginably famous and ridiculously wealthy. The fact that he carried the same themes of injustice, drugs, and violence over from his old life into his new ultimately killed him. At the time of his death at age 25 Tupac Shakur was worth $40 million. In the years following his death, his music earned his estate another $31 million as well.

Yafeu Akiyele Fula aka Yaki Kadafi was an associate of Tupac’s who claimed to be able to identify his killer.

No one was ever charged with Shakur’s death. Orlando Anderson certainly had a motive, but he was gunned down two years later in a drive-by of his own. One of Tupac’s fellow rappers named Yaki Kadafi claimed to be able to finger Anderson as the shooter, but he died violently himself two months after Shakur.

The death of Tupac Shakur was a tragic end to a young man who made a killing off of the violent gangster lifestyle.

As a disconnected middle-aged white guy, it was honestly tough for me to keep the names straight, but Tupac’s story was nonetheless a fascinating morality tale. A nobody from no place who possessed an undeniably charismatic personality and some serious natural skills, Tupac Shakur lived amidst a world of violence and anger. Despite his immense wealth and his broad international following he nonetheless ultimately died over a stupid misunderstanding in a shoe store.

Tupac died as he lived, a reflection of a broken world of his own design.

Glock 22

Caliber.40 S&W
Barrel Length4.49 inches
Weight (empty)25.57 ounces
Weight (loaded)34.39 ounces
Trigger Pull28 Newtons
Magazine Capacity15 Rounds
SystemGlock Safe Action

 

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About the author: Will Dabbs was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, having been immersed in hunting and the outdoors since his earliest recollections. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mississippi and is the product of a traditional American nuclear family. Where most normal American kids get drunk to celebrate their 21st birthday, Will bought his first two machineguns. Will served eight years as an Army Aviator and accumulated more than 1,100 flight hours piloting CH47D, UH1H, OH58A/C, and AH1S helicopters. He is scuba qualified, has parachuted out of perfectly good airplanes at 3 o’clock in the morning, and has summited Mt. McKinley, Alaska–the highest point in North America–six times (at the controls of a helicopter, which is the only way sensible folk climb mountains). For reasons that seemed sagacious at the time he ultimately left the Army as a Major to pursue medical school. Dr. Dabbs has for the last dozen years owned the Urgent Care Clinic of Oxford, Mississippi. He also serves as the plant physician for the sprawling Winchester ammunition plant in that same delightful little Southern town. Will is a founding partner of Advanced Tactical Ordnance LLC, a licensed 07/02 firearms manufacturer and has written for the gun press for a quarter century. He writes solely to support a shooting habit that is as insensate as it is insatiable. Will has been married to his high school sweetheart for more than thirty years and has taught his Young Married Sunday School class for more than a decade. He and his wife currently have three adult children and a most thoroughly worthless farm dog named Dog.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • RORY NIXON July 5, 2019, 9:34 pm

    Tupac’s death was a tragedy, But I never seen a story that linked violent acts with the guns that were used and a mini bio..SMDH….what’s next…Stephen Paddock’s Las Vegas Massacre Bump Stocks and Rifles Review….”Only in America”

  • ERP June 25, 2019, 8:03 am

    Music is art in whatever form the artist chooses. To not see that, is to not appreciate art itself. For those of you with IGNORANT comments, it just goes to show how simple minded you are. There’s a bigger picture to be seen, not only about Mr. Shakur’s tragic end, but of the society he was brought up in. People will like what they like and not like what they don’t, but to make opinionated comments about someone that you know nothing about, is pure ignorance. Which directly speaks to YOUR character.

  • Cliff Davidson June 25, 2019, 3:36 am

    I really liked this article , I’m the same age as Tupac . At 21 I purchased a Glock 22 and can relate and remember how I loved my Glocks & the World at that time. Great story that caught me off guard and drew me in . I like what you guys are doing & the guns ive purchased threw you.
    Thanks

  • Will Drider June 24, 2019, 8:12 pm

    Commentors are to wrapped up in what Tupak meant or didn’t mean to them personally. Didn’t hear these types of indignation after other assassin/victim articles. Generically, “Play thug games, win thug prizes” is sufficient but it was covered more eloquently in the article. A professed thug but not a gang member, though final destinations vary little.

    Another fine article in this type Series.

  • St. Toes June 24, 2019, 3:45 pm

    In today’s World, we need to go “Back to the Basics” on everything, such as, Education, Discipline and Respect, Child Supervision, Constitutional thought and Rights, which because the lack of it, has resulted in Tragedies like these. The Positive Societal Potential of this Person (Tupac) could have been Nurtured to enhance Educational and Self/Societal Progress.

    • ERP June 25, 2019, 8:05 am

      I agree.

  • Shan June 24, 2019, 2:51 pm

    The gangsters of days past were far more interesting. When I think of Tupac I recall how most of California’s crazy gun laws were born due to Black Panther members carrying around firearms in the streets. This guy sounded like a poor role model and a wanna be gangster. Seems he died of natural causes. That is natural to the type of life he lived.

  • Rick B June 24, 2019, 2:46 pm

    You wasted a lot of good GA space to glorify this asshole.
    I just don’t get it. Nobody gives a shit that he’s gone, and certainly nobody I know of gives a shit that he was here in the first place.

    • Alan Robinson June 25, 2019, 9:37 am

      An inane comment, just WHERE is the ‘glorification’?? A factually based assessment , IMO.
      Just because you don’t ‘get it’, doesn’t mean it isn’t important. .
      As for so many other comments, it was and IS a reflection in and on our society, I don’t care for Rap, but I recognize it’s influence, and he was among THE most influential, and a study of that is a study of that section of the population.
      You don’t like it? Too bad, it has to be dealt with whether you like it or not, and this series of articles is just that, a study of it.
      No one made you read it.

  • La'Darius June 24, 2019, 10:28 am

    2Pac’s death marked the death of rap music that had any kind of value. love him or hate him, he was an important cultural figure and to not understand why is to be an ignorant ass.

  • JL June 24, 2019, 10:03 am

    A culture of POS Fathers raising POS sons…

    Good riddance

  • MikeRoss June 24, 2019, 9:34 am

    It wasn’t a ‘misunderstanding’ it was the toxic ‘thug life’ both of them lived, and died for.

  • Gene June 24, 2019, 9:20 am

    Not really sure what the point of this was, all of that writing just to tie Glock and Tu Pac together for some type of, what, an add for Glock, the life and times of Tu Pac?

    What’s next, the JFK assassination, and the mighty Carcano rifle???

    I usually read the articles from this site for the weapon reviews, as they are useful and insightful, this was just far reaching and kinda weird!

    • Mike V June 25, 2019, 11:34 pm

      Read the series.

      It is exactly about the intersection of a specific gun with an important person. Just a different way of presenting history of man and his tools.

  • John June 24, 2019, 9:04 am

    Tupak spelled backwards is Kaput. Who cares. Good riddance.

    And why am I seeing an article about this Thug on Guns America?

    • Ren June 24, 2019, 10:26 am

      Because like it or not, this \”thug\” was an iconic person for over a decade and he made some pretty epic rap music

      • Stimpy June 24, 2019, 11:14 am

        “Rap music” is an oxymoron. Grunting profanities to a beat is not music.

      • pablo June 24, 2019, 11:31 am

        Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  • Dr. Strangelove June 24, 2019, 8:34 am

    Music is like candy. You throw away the rappers.

  • RM June 24, 2019, 8:22 am

    “The weapon discharged,…” No, a thug pulled the trigger and the weapon discharged. It was either a negligent discharge or the thug was aiming at another thug but missed and struck an innocent child.

  • Leo Thomas June 24, 2019, 7:16 am

    That depiction of Tupac’s music and who he was as a man was awful. It’s as if you heard, or read, stories from others who don’t like him and then wrote yours. It’s a negative spin on most everything about him. I thought like you until I listened to his music, and listened to entire releases, instead of picking individual lines and songs and saying, “yeah that’s who he is and that’s what rap is”. The nuance you miss in his music “awash in violence, substance abuse and objectification of women” is he was lamenting and reflecting back and pointing out the uselessness, sadness and negativity of all three. You don’t “miss the nuances of rap music”, you don’t listen to it.

    • Hondo June 24, 2019, 9:22 am

      Leo, stop being so dopey, Tucrap was a pos from a pos family. Good riddance to this thug and his shitty rap.

    • Kevin Baxter June 24, 2019, 10:51 am

      OK, you pegged the Bravo Sierra meter with that comment.
      Tupac and similar people are a severe problem, and regrettably, good riddance.
      I’m tired of having people campaign against my rights because these immoral idiots are shooting one another.
      What really should happen is these guys should be given some weapons training & target practice so that they can hit who they are aiming at rather than spray bullets around at random, killing innocent people.

  • Justista June 24, 2019, 7:09 am

    Come on Will, you called that shit music.
    And BOO HOO for Tupac. Live by the sword die by the sword.

  • Roger J June 24, 2019, 6:55 am

    He was born and raised to be a POS. And that’s exactly what he was. There is no loss to society.

  • Gary June 24, 2019, 6:51 am

    So WHY should I or anyone else care that this POS is dead???
    Is it the 6 year old shot in the head? Wouldn’t have happened IF he was killed years SOONER!!
    The cops that were shot? Again, who cares? They were shooting at him with stolen firearms!!
    I didn’t read of ONE redeeming quality about this POS! I for one am glad he’s gone!!

    • pablo June 24, 2019, 11:34 am

      I agree up until the cop comment. You mean the publicly drunk cops with stolen guns? They should be in jail aswell. If they weren’t cops they would be. Crap double standard.

      • Rogelio June 24, 2019, 9:43 pm

        so true…

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