Tupac Shakur's Death Certificate Details
Reporter Cathy Scott has authored a book on the murder of Tupac Shakur. Here in an exclusive and copyrighted account, she details the coroner's report and death certificate.
No one followed the mortuary van carrying Tupac Shakur's body from the hospital to the morgue. The van drove three blocks without being noticed.
An autopsy was done the evening of Sept. 13, 1996, almost immediately following his death, according to authorities.
While the autopsy report is not deemed by Nevada state law to be public information, the coroner's report is available to the public. However, after I bought a copy for $5, an office employee later said it had been given to me in error, and that they would not be releasing it to anyone because of the ongoing homicide investigation. To my knowledge, I am the only reporter to have a copy of that report. Six 35-millimeter photos taken during and after the autopsy are on file at the coroner's office, along with the autopsy report.
According to statements on the four-page coroner's report, Tupac Shakur's remains were positively identified by his mother, Afeni Shakur. The autopsy determined that Tupac didn't have any illegal drugs in his system. He was, however, heavily sedated during his hospital stay, it says.
He had been shot in his right hand, right hip and right chest just under his right arm.
"I interviewed the decedent's mother, Afeni Shakur, and she stated that the decedent was not married and he had no children," coroner Investigator Ed Brown wrote in his report. "She stated that Tupac A. Shakur was his name. She was not able to give any more information than this."
After Tupac's arrival at University Medical Center immediately following the shooting, a trauma center surgeon removed one bullet from Tupac's pelvis area.
In a conversation with Ed Brown at the hospital following Tupac's death, the surgeon told Brown that Tupac's injuries included a gunshot wound to his right chest with a "massive hemothorax" and a gunshot wound to the right thigh with "the bullet palpable within the abdomen." Tupac also had a gunshot wound to a right finger with a fracture. The preoperative diagnosis was a gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen and post-operative bleeding.
The one bullet remaining in Tupac's chest was not removed during surgery, but during the autopsy, Coroner Ron Flud told me. It then became evidence, he said.
When Tupac arrived at the hospital's trauma center, he was wheeled into the recovery area and "was resuscitated according to advanced trauma life support protocol," the report said, and "a full trauma activation was called."
He was placed on life support machines. Two liters of blood that had hemorrhaged into his chest cavity were removed. His pulse was "very thready and initially he had a minimal blood pressure, which rapidly declined." He was taken immediately to the operating room for operative intervention and further resuscitation. His right lung was removed.
The report states that Shakur underwent two operations. The first started at 6:25 p.m. on Sept. 8 and lasted an hour. The surgery "consisted of exploratory" procedures. The surgeon noted that it appeared Tupac had had some prior surgery for bullet wounds on his upper right chest area.
The second operation at University Medical Center consisted of "ligation of bleeding" and removal of a bullet from his pelvic area. It was done at midnight on Sept. 8 and completed at 2:35 a.m. on Sept. 9.
Tupac was pronounced dead at 4:03 p.m. Sept. 13 Dr. James Lovett at University Medical Center. Clark County Coroner Investigator Ed Brown was called to the hospital at 4:15 p.m.
"Upon my arrival ... I found no apparent life signs, and trauma was observed to the right hand, right hip and right chest under the right arm, apparently caused from gunshots.''
By Cathy Scott
LAS VEGAS SUN
Death certificate details
In February 1997, SUN reporter Cathy Scott went to the Clark County Office of Vital Statistics and viewed Tupac Shakur's death certificate. The only copy released was to his mother, Afeni Shakur. The original is on file with the county.
It's against Nevada Revised Statute to forge or sign a public document, including death certificates. The death certificate acts as the official notice of death. It includes the following:
Tupac Amaru Shakur was pronounced dead by Dr. Lovett at 4:03 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, 1996, at University Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit.
The one-page death certificate was filed with Clark County's vital records section by County Coroner Ron Flud on Sept. 18, 1996. Dr. Ed Brown with Coroner's office signed the certificate.
His mother, Afeni Shakur, made a positive identification of his body at 5 p.m. at the hospital. His body was then taken by Davis Mortuary to the morgue, three blocks away. An autopsy was performed and the official cause of death was respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wounds.
Shakur's occupation was listed as "rap singer" and the company he worked for was shown as "Euphanasia" in Los Angeles, Calif.
A county seal was stamped on the certificate, making it an official document.
Article From Las Vegas Sun About These Photos
Metro closes probe into leaked Shakur photo
Metro Police have closed an internal investigation into who leaked a postmortem photo of Tupac Shakur to a SUN reporter who used it in her book about the dead rapper/actor.
Although at least nine employees of Metro and the Clark County coroner's office were questioned, there was no evidence to support who did it, so no one was charged with any crime, Metro Undersheriff Richard Winget said Thursday.
"Our concern was that because the National Enquirer had offered $100,000 for a photo of Shakur (dead) that one of the employees used county property to take the picture (and profit from it)," Winget said. Such a situation could have resulted in embezzlement charges, he said.
Winget said County Coroner Ron Flud had requested the investigation shortly after the photo wound up in "The Killing of Tupac Shakur" by SUN reporter Cathy Scott. The book was released on Sept. 7, a year after Shakur was shot near the Las Vegas Strip after attending a championship boxing match.
The investigation centered on two general assignment detectives, at least three coroner employees and as many as four other Metro employees, Winget said.
It was learned that two general assignment detectives had taken Polaroid photos of Shakur at the morgue for use in a police training book, Winget said. Those pictures were removed from the book and destroyed and the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing.
"The potential for abuse was far greater than the value of the photos for training purposes," Winget said.
He declined to release the names of the detectives or the other seven people who were questioned during the 1 1/2-month investigation. Winget said they all denied giving a photo to Scott.
Unless further evidence comes to light, the case is closed, Winget said.
Scott was not interviewed by police.
Flud has said the photo, which shows Shakur dissected on a table at the morgue, is not an official coroner or police photo.
Metro Internal Affairs Bureau Lt. John Alamshaw also said it appears that it was not an official photo.
Neither of them, however, denied that it was an authentic photo of Shakur's body.
Scott, who denied paying for the photo, has declined to comment on the police investigation, referring all inquiries to the publisher of her book.
"I don't think people care whether the photo came from Pluto," said Anthony Curtis, owner of Las Vegas-based Huntington Press, which published the book. "People just care that the photo exists."
Curtis maintains that the gruesome photo was not published just for shock value, but to stem the usual rumors following the untimely death of a famous person that he is still alive.
"We still get calls from people who read the book and say they still don't believe Shakur is dead," Curtis said. "It is a rumor that just won't go away."
Although Curtis maintains he does not know who gave Scott the photo, he says he is convinced it was obtained by legal means.
In related news, all 25,000 copies of the book's first printing have been distributed and the second printing of 25,000 copies will begin soon to meet back orders, Curtis said, noting the book has sold well in Southern California.
The book will soon go on sale in New York, where 4,000 copies have been ordered. To become a best seller, a book has to sell well in selected major outlets in the New York market, Curtis said, noting that inquiries about the book have come from as far away as Europe.
"The book has got legs, now we are waiting to see if it will sprout wings," Curtis said.
The Shakur book also recently became the No. 1 seller in the history of the small Las Vegas-based publishing company, outselling in 30 days the previous record-holder "Bargain City," by Curtis. That book about Las Vegas was published in 1993 and sold 19,000 copies.
The success of the Shakur book comes on the heels of the recently released motion picture, "Gang Related," the last film Shakur made before his death on Sept. 13, 1996, at a Las Vegas hospital, where he had undergone surgery on his bullet wounds. The slaying remains unsolved.
October 24, 1997
By Ed Koch
LAS VEGAS SUN