Monday, Sept. 9, 1996 | 6 a.m.
Four assailants remained at large today in the near-slaying of rapper Tupac Shakur after a drive-by shooting near the Strip.
Death Row Records Chairman Marion "Suge" Knight, a former Las Vegas resident, also was injured in the shooting.
Shakur, 25, was in critical condition this morning in University Medical Center's intensive care unit.
Several dozen friends and family members held a vigil in the lobby and on the driveway of the Trauma Center since Saturday night's shooting after the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon heavyweight boxing match.
"This is always so painful to see," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday about the assault on Shakur and Knight. Jackson was in Las Vegas on behalf of the National Rainbow Coalition, launching a voter registration and mobilization tour.
Referring to what he described as "cycles of self-destruction," Jackson added, "I can only hope people choose life over death."
Jackson said he hoped to visit Shakur in the hospital.
Shakur underwent a second operation at 6:20 p.m. Sunday to repair bullet wounds, and returned to his room at 7:45 p.m., said Dale Pugh, hospital spokesman.
The recording star whose history is marred by violence and criminal convictions was shot four times in the chest while standing up through the open sun roof of a black 1996 BMW 750 sedan about 11:15 p.m. Saturday while eastbound on Flamingo Road near Koval Lane.
Shakur's friends said Knight, 31, was driving the BMW toward toward Club 662 at 1700 E. Flamingo Road, which Knight owns, when a late 1990s white four-door Cadillac pulled up to the BMW's passenger side.
One of the Cadillac's four occupants fired at least 13 rounds at the BMW, four striking Shakur in the chest as he stood up in the car and shrapnel grazing Knight's head, said Metro Police Sgt. Greg McCurdy.
Metro Police were in the Maxim hotel-casino parking garage on an unrelated call and heard shots from the nearby Flamingo-Koval intersection, McCurdy said.
"They saw about 10 cars pull a U-turn and head west on Flamingo at a high rate of speed," McCurdy said.
A traffic jam on the Strip helped Metro bike patrol officers catch up to the caravan on Las Vegas Boulevard South at Harmon Avenue, about a mile from the shooting. Police radioed for paramedics after finding a bloodied but conscious Shakur and Knight in the BMW.
Knight was released from UMC at 11 a.m. Sunday in good condition, However, he was not cooperating with Metro's investigation, said homicide Sgt. Kevin Manning.
Manning said the shooting "was not a random act of violence."
Metro Police would not comment on sources' claims that the incident was fueled by an argument earlier that evening toward the end of the Tyson-Seldon bout at the MGM Grand.
"At this point, we have no suspects in custody," said Lt. Marc Maston. "We've spoken with several people, but all of them have been released."
Shakur's family declined to comment on the attack. His mother apologized outside the hospital for not granting the SUN an interview. "I can only imagine how hard it must be for all of you (reporters) to have to do this type of work," she said politely.
The black BMW remained in the impound lot at Ewing Bros. Auto Body and Towing lot in North Las Vegas Sunday, its right front and rear ends damaged and passenger door sprayed with bullet holes.
Police found no weapon inside the car, merely a cigar case and a Motorola cellular flip phone.
It was the second time in less than two years that someone has shot at Shakur, the gangster rap star whose songs focusing on sex and violence have sold millions of copies.
The rapper, who starred opposite Janet Jackson in the movie "Poetic Justice," is working on another film, "Gridlock." His latest album, "All Eyez On Me," has sold more than 5 million copies.
In November 1994, he was shot five times and lost $40,000 worth of jewelry during a robbery in a Manhattan recording studio.
Shakur was released last year from a New York prison after serving an eight-month sentence for sexual abuse.
Shakur pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge for trying to hit another performer at a concert at Michigan State University in 1983.
Also in 1983, Shakur was accused of shooting two Atlanta police officers, but charges were later dropped.
Shakur was charged with battery in 1992 for slapping a woman who asked for his autograph.
An appeal is pending of a judge's April order that Shakur spend three months in jail on probation violations in Los Angeles and New York for not doing roadside cleanup work as part of his sentencing.
He is scheduled for sentencing Thursday for carrying a loaded, concealed gun during an assault on a music video producer in Los Angeles.