The firearm used to kill the rapper Tupac Shakur in 1996 was found by police officers 19 years ago, but has since gone missing.
According to TMZ.com, information found in documents unearthed by the producers of the TV documentary series Who Killed Tupac?, reveal a .40 caliber Glock weapon was found in a backyard in Compton, Los Angeles in 1998 and handed in to the police.
In 2006 a detective with experience of investigating the 1997 murder of Tupac’s rap rival the Notorious B.I.G. looked through records and recognized the address where the gun was found as the home of the girlfriend of a prominent member of Los Angeles’ Crips gang known to dislike the musician.
The officer ordered ballistics testing – and the results matched the weapon used to kill Tupac in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada on 7 September 1996.
However, the gun was not handed over to Las Vegas Police Department (LVPD) officers – despite the case remaining officially unsolved.
According to editors at the gossip website, a federal prosecutor assigned to the case expressed concerns the discovery of the weapon might alert potential conspirators and issued a recommendation not to turn the gun over to the LVPD.
They also report that law enforcement officials were concerned about the possibility of an increase in gang violence if a member of the Crips was linked to Tupac’s death.
Producers from A&E, which is airing the documentary, contacted LVPD officials who confirmed they never received the weapon – and its whereabouts are unknown.
The rapper and Suge Knight, the boss of Tupac’s label Death Row Records, were seen brawling with an alleged member of the Crips in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, where they had been attending a boxing match, on the night of the murder.
Tupac rose to fame as part of the ‘gangsta rap’ movement of the early 1990s, writing lyrics that referenced gang culture. His death at the age of just 25 shocked the rap world and the identity of his killer has been the subject of endless speculation.
The final episode of the documentary series airs on A&E on Tuesday (19Dec17).