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Possible Suspect in Tupac Shakur Death Killed in Shootout

May 30, 1998|ERIC MALNIC and CHUCK PHILIPS | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Orlando Anderson--once named by police as a suspect in the Las Vegas slaying of rap star Tupac Shakur--was killed Friday in a gang shootout in Compton that also claimed the life of another man, sources close to the case said.

Police withheld formal identification of the victims, saying that the next of kin had yet to be notified. Officers said only that two men were dead, a third man was in critical condition and a fourth, who was treated for gunshot wounds, had been booked on suspicion of murder.

Anderson, whose grandmother had died of natural causes earlier in the day, told friends about 2 p.m. that he was "going to the store." A few minutes later, he left his home in Compton and drove off with friends, the sources said.

About 3:10 p.m., Anderson and another man--both believed to be members of the Southside Crips--drove up to a carwash at Alondra Boulevard and Oleander Avenue where several members of a rival gang had gathered, police said.

"There was an altercation," Compton Police Lt. Robert Baker said. "Both sides began shooting."

The brief but intense gun battle scattered bystanders and left four men sprawled on the pavement, all of them gang members, according to police.

The four were taken to Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center in nearby Willowbrook, where Anderson, 23, and another man were pronounced dead a short time later.

A third man was in critical condition and "just clinging to life," according to a nurse at the hospital.

The fourth--Michael Reed Dorrough, 24--was treated for lesser wounds before being booked by Compton police on suspicion of murder.

Investigators said the confrontation that preceded the shooting apparently stemmed from a dispute over money. The shootout occurred next to Compton High School, but police said that although classes were in session, no students or staff members were involved.

Although Las Vegas police say there was never any direct evidence linking Anderson to Shakur's death, Los Angeles police said as recently as last September that they still considered Anderson a suspect in the unsolved murder.

Last September, Shakur's mother filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Anderson, saying he was the one who gunned down the rap star on the Las Vegas Strip in September 1996.

According to the lawsuit, the rapper's shooting followed a fight in a hotel lobby between Shakur's entourage and Anderson. An affidavit filed with the lawsuit contends that Anderson was seen carrying a Glock .40-caliber handgun--the same type of weapon used to kill Shakur--several days after the rapper's death.

Times staff writer Nieson Himmel contributed to this report.

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