JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Tupac Shakur -- no, not the one you think -- was arrested Saturday in Tennessee after authorities allege he pulled a knife on a police officer.
Shakur, 40, of Elizabethtown, shares the name, down to the middle name of Amaru, with the 25-year-old rapper slain in 1996. Unlike the rapper, this Tupac Shakur is white.
Shakur is charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, simple possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
Johnson City police officials said in a news release that Shakur was arrested Saturday evening after officers went to a home seeking him on warrants out of Carter County. As they arrived, they spotted Shakur in the passenger seat of a vehicle leaving the property.
The officers found the car about a half-mile away and made contact with Shakur, who they said pulled away and reached toward his waistband.
“Mr. Shakur then attempted to turn towards officers with a knife in his hand before being taken to the ground,” the news release said. “After a brief struggle, Mr. Shakur was placed in custody.
“Mr. Shakur was in possession of a syringe and multiple baggies of methamphetamine.”
Shakur was taken to the Washington County Detention Center, where he was booked on the charges. According to the news release, he is being held in lieu of $18,000 bail.
He was scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon.
It was not immediately known if Shakur was given his name at birth or if he changed it as an adult. His birth predates the career of the slain rapper with whom he shares the name.
The rapper Tupac Shakur, who had survived a shooting in 1994, was gunned down Sept. 7, 1996, in Las Vegas after seeing a Mike Tyson boxing match at the MGM Grand. Shakur was in the passenger seat of a BMW driven by rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, chairman of Death Row Records, later that night as they pulled up to an intersection near the Vegas Strip on their way to a nightclub.
A white Cadillac pulled up alongside the vehicle and fired more than a dozen shots into the BMW, striking Shakur four times, according to news reports at the time, including MTV News. As part of a series of three operations, surgeons removed the rapper’s right lung in an unsuccessful effort to stop his internal bleeding.
Shakur, who was put on a ventilator and heavily sedated, died Sept. 13, 1996, six days after being shot. His mother, Afeni Shakur, was at his side.
Afeni Shakur, who named her son Lesane Parish Crooks when he was born in 1971, changed his name to Tupac Amaru, after an 18th-century Peruvian revolutionary, after she joined the Black Panther Party, according to Biography.com. Tupac’s last name was taken from the surname of his sister’s father.
The homicide of the man BET named the most influential rapper of all time remains unsolved, though there have been multiple theories over the years, including one conspiracy theory that Shakur, tired of fame, faked his death.
One of the most prevalent theories has been that the killing was part of a feud between East and West Coast rappers. The theory involved rapper Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G., with whom Shakur had an ongoing feud related to their rival record labels, the Los Angeles-based Death Row Records for Shakur and the New York-based Bad Boy Records for Smalls.
Smalls, whose birth name was Christopher Wallace, was killed six months after Shakur’s death, in a March 1997 drive-by shooting very similar to the one that killed Shakur. Like Shakur, Wallace was killed as he sat in the passenger seat of a vehicle while leaving a music industry party in L.A.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which reviewed FBI files in 2011 regarding the Biggie Smalls shooting, federal agents investigated the possibility that Wallace’s slaying was committed in retaliation for Shakur’s death.
The files indicate that the FBI became involved as part of a probe of corruption and civil rights violations in the Los Angeles Police Department. The Review-Journal reported that the focus of the investigation was whether corrupt Los Angeles police officers were involved in Wallace’s killing.
Federal investigators ultimately concluded that there was not enough evidence to bring charges against the officers suspected of involvement, the newspaper reported.
Like that of Shakur, his killing remains unsolved.