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The FBI Opens the Vault on Notorious B.I.G. Murder Investigation

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Fourteen years after the death of the Notorious B.I.G., the FBI has made its findings in the investigation public, and the documents provide a harrowing account of what occurred on the night of March 9th, 1997, the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop feud, and just how close authorities came to charging a suspect in the still-unsolved murder. The 359-page document spans the FBI's investigation on Biggie's murder from December 2002 to June 2005 with a large amount of witness testimony and newspaper articles (including one titled "FBI End Probe Into Killing of Rap Star") thrown in.

Many of the documents have been heavily redacted, as no charges were ever filed, but the investigation seems to center on then-LAPD officer David Mack, a corrupt cop who had ties to Death Row Records mogul Suge Knight. (It's always been assumed that Biggie's murder was in retaliation for Death Row artist Tupac Shakur being gunned down six months earlier.) Mack recently completed a 14-year prison stint after plotting a bank robbery in August 1997, five months after Biggie's murder. Amir Muhammad, Mack's roommate, was also implicated in the drive-by shooting. Knight denied ever meeting Mack or Muhammad, even though Suge and Mack grew up in the same Compton neighborhood.

Witnesses described the shooter in Biggie's death as "a Male Black 25/26 years old light complexion with his hair in a fade hair style," a vague description that could match Mack, though he was 36 at the time. However, witnesses also claimed that a black Chevrolet SS Impala was the vehicle that pulled alongside Biggie's GMC Suburban and opened fire. Mack owned a black Chevrolet SS Impala at the time of his bank robbery arrest, and some rare ammunition (Gecko 9mm) found at his home matched that from the Biggie murder. Mack also had a "shrine" for Tupac in his garage when police issued a search warrant on his residence. Still, Mack was never charged in Biggie's death (former LAPD detective Russell Poole and Biggie's mother Violetta Wallace claimed police corruption in a wrongful death suit), and to this day Mack proclaims he's innocent.

The FBI documents don't offer up much new information that hasn't been previously exposed in documentaries, TV specials, books, and newspaper stories, but it vividly paints a first-hand portrait into the murder of one of the greatest rappers ever. The unearthed FBI files also make no mention of the new leads that have reportedly "reinvigorated" the Biggie investigation.

[Photo: Chris Walter/WireImage.com]

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