21 years later, the questions surrounding the murder of Tupac Shakur have yet to be conclusively answered.
Sure, we've heard a lot of theories. Some even believe that the identity of Tupac's killer has been revealed. But then, some people continue to believe that Tupac is secretly alive.
But what we do know is that the murder weapon used to take Tupac's life was reportedly found ... and then lost. All while in police custody. And it gets weirder. ...
On September 7th, 1996, Tupac Shakur was gunned down in his car by an unknown assailant.
Tupac had been shot before -- in an attack that appeared to be staged to look like a robbery.
This final shooting, however, was transparently an attempt on Tupac's life. And though the rapper made it to the hospital and doctors did their best, the attempt to kill him was ultimately successful.
Conspiracy theories abound.
Tupac's vehicle had been stopped earlier (pro-tip: if you don't want to be stopped by police, keep your license plate or plates on your vehicle rather than in your trunk), though not detained for long or ticketed.
Some believed that police had been somehow involved in this plot.
And there's also the theory that Suge Knight was involved in Tupac's murder.
See, Tupac was reportedly massively in debt to Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records who had pushed for Tupac's early release from prison.
Some saw Knight profiting from Tupac's record sales after his dramatic death and wondered if that's exactly how Suge Knight had planned it.
Of course, Suge Knight is behind bars in relation to a different violent death. And there are even people who believe that Tupac's own wife killed him (in a drive-by?).
Conspiracy theorists are wild, folks.
A much more grounded theory, espoused by former law enforcement who actually worked the case in Compton, was that Tupac wasn't killed in some elaborate conspiracy worthy of a James Bond villain.
Rather, they believe that it was one-on-one gang violence.
See, Suge Knight financed his own alleged criminal organization, which made him an automatic enemy of the Crips.
(Gangs don't usually like other gangs sprouting up in their territory)
And, by association, that made Tupac the enemy of the Crips.
On top of that, what may have made Tupac Shakur a target was that he had, on the day of his death, instigated a beat-down on an alleged Crips member who had robbed a Death's Row associate earlier that year.
(The robbery took place in a Foot Locker, of all places)
it seems pretty reasonable that a beaten up members of a powerful gang would result in retribution. Conspiracy theorists, however, point out that the incident may have just made for the perfect cover for an assassination.
Theories are easy to create and difficult to prove. You know what's not easy to come by?
Actual, physical evidence. Like a murder weapon.
TMZ reports that the finding of the murder weapon -- and its unexplained disappearance -- is covered in the A&E docuseries, "Who Killed Tupac?"
So, according to the findings of the series:
-In 1998, a man found a .40 caliber Glock in his backyard and reported it to police. According to Compton P.D. records, it was booked into evidence on May 30th.
-In 2000, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department transferred 3,800 firearms that had been booked into evidence -- including that Glock -- into its own custody after taking over the policing of Compton.
-In 2006, Deputy T. Brennan had been working the Notorious B.I.G. murder and was examining records. He apparently saw the record of the Glock and recognized the address at which it was found -- he knew it as the home of a girlfriend of a Crips member who harbored a special dislike for Tupac.
Responsibly, he ordered ballistics testing, and the results showed that the Glock was the murder weapon.
However ... that weapon has now vanished.
It's easy to believe that it was deliberately stolen and destroyed as part of an elaborate conspiracy.
But we think that it's easier to believe that one of two things happened:
One, everyday incompetence plagues every walk of life in our world. Vital evidence gets misplaced more often than any of us would care to imagine.
Two, you never know if some horribly corrupt person might have had access at some point and figured that the Glock wouldn't be missed for years and either took it as a memento or found a buyer who wanted to own the gun that killed Tupac.
(Some people have too much money and collect things that no private citizen should own, just for funsies)
But ultimately, we don't know. Was there a Crip operative who managed to get the gun smuggled out? Was it really some elaborate conspiracy involving Suge Knight's considerable financial resources?
The world may never know.