In the nearly 20 years since Tupac Shakur was shot, there have been so many versions of the story that most of that night’s accounts can be filed under tall tales and the people who tell them. Everyone and their grandma has attempted at some point to cash in on the rehashing of that night. But one man has yet to be heard from….and that is the first officer on the scene who is telling the story from his first hand account of events. Officer Chris Carroll is now discounting some of what we’ve heard from others. It’s a very different recollection of events told by a man who is going to fascinate some, anger others and frustrate many for various reasons. The piece was written by the officer’s cousin Sean DeFrank of Vegas Seven. And if what Carrol says is even remotely accurate it will throw many Tupac theories into a tailspin.
Carroll was a sergeant on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s bike patrol unit on the Vegas Strip. He had just heard over the radio that there was a huge caravan of cars fleeing the scene of a shooting in which a white cadillac had open fire on a BMW in the caravan. (The BMW was later revealed to be driven by Suge Knight.) Carrol was riding toward the caravan of cars on his bike in an attempt to intercept Suge et al. At the time police did not know if those in the caravan were the victims or the trigger men as the Vegas Strip was packed with people after a Mike Tyson title fight at the MGM which had just let out. It was so packed that it was hard for cars to maneuver at all thus making getting details from the scene passed on to fellow law enforcement difficult if not virtually impossible for police.
Knight managed to make a U-turn on Flamingo, as Shakur sat bleeding in the passenger seat. After turning onto the Strip, Knight weaved the BMW through traffic, blowing out two of the car’s tires and denting the rims as he drove over the median, and ran a red light at Harmon in the frantic escape. The car came to a halt near the center divider while attempting a left turn. The vehicles trailing Shakur and Knight also stopped at the intersection.
“As that happens, I hop off the bike and let it go flying. I still don’t know who the shooter is, and as soon as they stopped, almost all the car doors go flying open. So I pulled out my gun, and there’s maybe 10 people. And it was apparent immediately after they got out of the cars that this wasn’t Joe Citizen driving with his wife; these were hard-ass guys. So I’ve got my gun out, and I think one of them is probably the shooter. So I’m yelling for everybody to get down; there’s a ton of people up and down the Strip. I’m concerned about crossfire; I’m concerned that I don’t know who the shooter is. I’m trying to point a gun at five different cars at once, anticipating gunfire. And to my surprise, the gunfire never comes.
So I’m pointing my gun, and I’m yelling at guys to get down on the ground. Some of them do, and some of them don’t. Some of them were kinda thinking about it, and they’re looking at each other, almost like, ‘Do we run? Do we do like he says and get on the ground?’ They’re trying to figure out the situation just like I am. We’re all just staring at each other in this semi-standoff as I’m yelling at them to get on the ground.
I grab the car door and I’m trying to open it, but I can’t get it open. [Knight] keeps coming up on my back, so I’m pointing my gun at him. I’m pointing it at the car. I’m yelling, ‘You guys lay down! And you, get the fuck away from me!’ And every time I’d point the gun at him, he’d back off and even lift his hands up, like ‘All right! All right!’ So I’d go back to the car, and here he comes again. I’m like, ‘Fucker, back off!’ This guy is huge, and the whole time he’s running around at the scene, he’s gushing blood from his head. Gushing blood! I mean the guy had clearly been hit in the head, but he had all his faculties. I couldn’t believe he was running around and doing what he was doing, yelling back and forth.
I finally get the car door to open, and as I pull it open, the guy inside came right out, like he was leaning against the door. And at first I thought the guy was going to bust out of the door right on top of me; I thought this was his plan of attack, so to speak. But then I notice that he’s not coming out of the door; he was falling out of it. So I grabbed him with my left arm and he falls into me, and I’ve still got my gun in the other hand. He’s covered with blood, and I immediately notice that the guy’s got a ton of gold on—a necklace and other jewelry—and all of the gold is covered in blood. That has always left an image in my mind.
I’ve got him in one hand, I’ve got the gun in the other hand, I’m still yelling at the other guys, and I pull him out of the car. Well, right about then, thank God, another bike cop shows up. He was probably the guy who was chasing the cars initially. He gets Suge off my back, because Suge was somewhat of a threat to me; the other guys were kinda listening—some proned out, some on their knees, some standing around.
The other cop pushes Suge away from me, and I look down at the guy I’m holding: He’s still conscious. I could see he’s shot several times, but I can’t tell where he’s shot. And as I pulled him out of the car, he was wincing in pain. He’s looking at me; he’s groaning. I laid him down on the pavement, and then I looked inside the car to see if there was anybody else in there, but there wasn’t.
After I pulled him out, Suge starts yelling at him, ‘Pac! Pac!’ And he just keeps yelling it. And the guy I’m holding is trying to yell back at him. He’s sitting up and he’s struggling to get the words out, but he can’t really do it. And as Suge is yelling ‘Pac!,’ I look down and I realize that this is Tupac Shakur. At the time, it didn’t really mean much of anything to me. I was more concerned that this was a bad situation to be in with just one other cop.
There’s something in police work called the ‘dying declaration,’ a legal concept that, in a nutshell, basically says that if someone who believes they’re going to die gives out the name of a suspect or is able to explain what happened, that’s not considered hearsay in court when they’re not there to testify; it’s admissible evidence.
So, I’m looking at Tupac, and he’s trying to yell back at Suge, and I’m asking him, ‘Who shot you? What happened? Who did it?’ And he was just kind of ignoring me. He was making eye contact with me here and there, but he’s trying to yell at Suge. And I kept asking over and over, ‘Who did this? Who shot you?’ And he basically kept ignoring me. And then I saw in his face, in his movements, all of a sudden in the snap of a finger, he changed. And he went from struggling to speak, being noncooperative, to an ‘I’m at peace’ type of thing. Just like that.
He went from fighting to ‘I can’t do it.’ And when he made that transition, he looked at me,
and he’s looking right in my eyes. And that’s when I looked at him and said one more time, ‘Who shot you?’
He looked at me and he took a breath to get the words out, and he opened his mouth, and I thought I was actually going to get some cooperation. And then the words came out: ‘F**k you.’
After that, he started gurgling and slipping out of consciousness. At that point, an ambulance showed up, and he went into unconsciousness.
As the paramedics loaded him up, more and more cops are showing up. The threat was gone, but we’re trying to find out what’s going on. It’s a complete mess. They started putting Tupac in the ambulance, so I grabbed one of the guys who worked for me and said, ‘Hop in the ambulance and ride with him, and don’t let him out of your sight at the hospital just in case he talks, just in case he says something, and maybe we can still get a dying declaration.
As soon as he got to the hospital, he went into surgery and was heavily sedated, and I guess he went into a coma and really never came out of that, until they took him off of life support. So that moment I talked to him was his last real living moment where he was speaking. I talked to the cop who rode in the ambulance with him. He said Tupac never came out of it, and he never said anything at the hospital. There was nothing else.”
WOW! Just..WOW! That story is so crazy for so many different reasons! Now as we often say…DISCUSS!