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LAPD unseals autopsy report of rapper Notorious B.I.G.

Police say they hope to gain new leads in the 15-year-old slaying of Biggie Smalls. But the star's family members say they were caught off guard by the release.

December 07, 2012|By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
  • The LAPD on Friday unsealed the 15-year-old autopsy report on rapper Notorious B.I.G., who was killed in Los Angeles in 1997.
The LAPD on Friday unsealed the 15-year-old autopsy report on rapper Notorious… (Los Angeles Times )

The Los Angeles Police Department took the unusual step Friday of unsealing the 15-year-old autopsy report of rapper Notorious B.I.G., saying they hope to generate new leads in the murder mystery.

The autopsy report had been kept private at the request of investigators. But on Friday, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office released the 23-page document, which provided details about the shooting.

"Investigators decided to release the autopsy to stimulate new interest in the case and hopefully produce new leads," said Lt. Andrew Neiman.

DOCUMENT: Read the autopsy

Notorious B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher George Latore Wallace, died in March 1997 when he was shot four times during a drive-by attack on Wilshire Boulevard. Wallace had been sitting in the front passenger seat of a Chevrolet Suburban.

He was killed by a shot that entered his right hip before slicing through his colon, liver, heart and part of his lung before wedging in his left shoulder area, according to the report signed by Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Scheinin.

One shot hit Wallace's left forearm and traveled down to his wrist, while a another hit him in the back and exited his body through his left shoulder, the report said. Another shot hit his left thigh and traveled through to his inner thigh.

Examiners noted they could not determine the sequence of the shots.

The Brooklyn rapper, who was also known as Biggie Smalls, was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where doctors performed emergency surgery. Two medium-caliber lead bullets were recovered from his hospital gurney.

No drugs or alcohol were found in Wallace's system, according to a toxicology screen.

The unexpected release of the autopsy report after all this time caught the rapper's family off guard. Family members said they are disheartened the case has still not been solved.

"What legitimate lead could be stimulated by releasing an autopsy that says Mr. Wallace was shot. When everyone knows that. Why don't they release some of the clues they have? said Perry Sanders Jr., a civil rights attorney who represents Wallace's mother and other relatives.

The shooting occurred outside the Petersen Automotive Museum in the Miracle Mile area as the rapper was leaving a music industry party. At the time of his death, Wallace was one of the biggest stars in rap music. Coroner's officials noted he arrived at Cedar's in full cardiac arrest and died shortly after.

DOCUMENT: Read the autopsy

His slaying shocked the hip-hop community, coming just months after the Las Vegas slaying of another marquee rapper, Los Angeles-based Tupac Shakur.

Once friends, the rappers became rivals whose respective camps regularly traded violent barbs in song lyrics and in interviews. Shakur's slaying also remains unsolved. Various theories have linked the two homicides.

The FBI opened its own probe after Wallace's family accused the LAPD of covering up how the rapper actually died. Los Angeles police officials last year said they exhaustively searched for answers in the case without an arrest.

The LAPD did not disclose any further details about the case on Friday.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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