At least 13 rounds were fired into a 1996 BMW 750 sedan that was heading eastbound on Flamingo Road in Las Vegas on the night of Saturday, September 7, 1996.
The day the music was gunned down: September 7, 1996
Seated at driver’s side of this vehicle was Death Row head Suge Knight. At the passenger side, Tupac Shakur. Knight was mildly injured by some bullet fragments. Shakur, meanwhile, sustained four bullets that struck twice in the chest, once in the arm, and once in the thigh. With Tupac bleeding profusely in the passenger seat, Knight, despite the bullet graze to his head, promptly floored the car, pulling a complete U-turn and instantly headed east on Flamingo. Making it to this corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue, they get pulled over by the Bike Patrol, who arrived before paramedics, who swept them off to University Medical Center — just steps away from where the evening began, the MGM Grand. Immediately, Shakur underwent the first of three operations. His right lung is removed to stop internal bleeding. The following is a timeline of everything that took place in the days after the tragic evening.
Day Two: As media outlets rush to the University Medical Center with “Tupac Shot Again” headlines running rampant after news of Shakur’s shooting, Suge Knight is released from the hospital after sustaining a graze to the head from the bullets fired into his vehicle. Shakur remained in critical condition after emergency surgery.
Day Three: Knight ducks police seeking to question him about the Las Vegas shooting. Shakur’s right lung, shredded by three bullets, is removed. Surgeons tear through the “Thug Life” tattoo on Shakur’s chest to remove the shattered lung. Las Vegas Sgt. Kevin Manning, lead investigator, expresses frustration to media about the last of cooperation from Shakur and Knight’s entourage, who were at the scene during the Saturday night ambush. It is also reported that doctors believe Shakur “has a 50-50 chance of living.” As the reports go, doctors said if Skakur survives he could be able to get by with just one lung. Meanwhile, members of Shakur’s entourage, who cops said are affiliated with the Bloods street gang, scuffled with police. Four of the friends were handcuffed but later released.
Day Four: After being originally given a 50-50 chance at survival, it is reported that Tupac Shakur has just a 1 in 5 chance of surviving the four gunshot wounds. Dr. John Fildes, chairman of the trauma center at University Medical Center, tells the media that eight of 10 patients die from the sustaining such serious chest wounds and the removal of a lung. “Statistically, it carries a very high mortality rate,” Fildes states in a report by NY Daily News. “A patient may die from lack of oxygen or may bleed to death in the chest.”
Day Five: An L.A. Crip is shot to death while sitting in his car, which is the first in a series of gang-related murders. The rumor is that the homicide was payback for Shakur’s death. Police begin investigating possible connections to Tupac’s shooting. Authorities are also on guard outside of Shakur’s hospital room to avoid any trouble. Suge, meanwhile, makes himself available to the LVPD for questioning. “He didn’t know anything,” says Sgt. Kevin Manning.
Day Six: Shakur remains in critical condition on life support. He is connected to a respirator, however his body continues to violently convulse.
Day Seven: “This is Dale Pugh, marketing and public relations director for the University Medical Center. This message is being recorded at approximately 5:15 pm on Friday, September 13,” says the hospital answering machine. “Tupac Shakur has passed away at UMC at approximately 4:03 p.m. Physicians have listed the cause of death as respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest.”