Fifteen years after Biggie's murder, retired detective Greg Kading debunks a few bogus theories and explains why the case will never officially be solved.
According to the police detective who spent three years investigating the murder of Biggie Smalls, the man pictured above—Wardell Fouse a.k.a Darnell Bolton a.k.a. “Poochie”—was the triggerman who killed Biggie fifteen years ago today. His fee for murdering the greatest rapper of all time? $13,000.
On March 9, 1997, Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G., was shot to death while sitting in a Chevy Suburban outside of a hip-hop industry party in Los Angeles. Biggie’s drive-by shooting occurred just six months after his friend turned foe, 25-year-old Tupac Shakur, suffered a similar fate after a boxing match in Las Vegas. These killings remain the worst tragedies in hip-hop history.
Seeing the two greatest rappers of a generation cut down in their prime was bad enough. The death of two young men who were so beloved by their family, friends, and fans was worse still. Adding insult to injury, Big and Pac were both murdered on busy city streets, in view of numerous witnesses. Yet there has never been an arrest in either case and both murders remain officially unsolved to this day.
Greg Kading is neither a journalist nor a conspiracy theorist. A retired L.A.P.D. detective, he was in charge of the special task force that investigated Christopher Wallace’s murder.
Although the police investigations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas have failed to bring the truth to light, there is no shortage of websites, documentaries, and books detailing various theories and counter-theories—ranging from rap beef and gang violence to crooked cops and government conspiracies. But the latest book to be published, Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations. by Greg Kading (second photo), is different from the rest.
Kading is neither a journalist nor a conspiracy theorist. A retired L.A.P.D. detective, he was in charge of the special task force that investigated Christopher Wallace’s murder between 2006 and 2009. After Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace filed suit against the City of Los Angeles and the L.A.P.D.—seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages—the department was highly motivated to solve the case. That’s when Kading got the assignment.
After his efforts led to two sworn confessions from people who said they played a part in the killings of Wallace and Shakur, Kading was suddenly pulled off the case. At the time, he was under investigation by L.A.P.D. Internal Affairs for allegedly making false statements on an affidavit in a separate case. However, in the end, Internal Affairs cleared Kading of any wrongdoing. Around the same time, the Wallace family’s lawsuit was dismissed.
When the 22-year veteran saw the case he built being shelved, he became so frustrated that he quit the force—but not before making copies of his evidence so that he could put all his findings into a book. His conclusions are controversial to be sure, but they are so thoroughly researched that they’re hard to ignore.
Complex caught up with Kading to talk about the results of his investigation, why no arrests have ever been made, and why he believes these cases will never be officially solved.
As told to Rob Kenner (@boomshots)
On Biggie’s Murder
“Suge Knight was absolutely enraged. Not only had he been shot at, but his friend [Tupac Shakur] was killed next to him in the car. Suge always knew who was responsible. He looked directly into the eyes of Keefe D, who was in the shooter’s car. Keefe D was a member of the Southside Crips and a well known person to Suge. That explains why the next day this huge war broke out in Compton between Suge Knight’s gang entourage and Keefe D’s gang entourage.
On Whether The Cases Will Ever Be Solved
“It comes down to how you define solved. Both law enforcement agencies—the Las Vegas Police Department and the L.A.P.D.—have drawn the conclusions that Tupac was killed by Orlando Anderson and Biggie Smalls was killed by Wardell ‘Poochie’ Fouse.
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On Why He Was Taken Off The Case
“The whole renewed investigation was born out of this fear of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in this civil case. That was really the impetus to the whole investigation that I was involved in to begin with.
On The L.A.P.D. Saying The Investigation Is Still Open
“That’s just lip-service. That’s what a police department is always going to say—not just the L.A.P.D., any police department, about any unsolved murder case. They’re always going to say, ‘Yes, it’s an open investigation. It’s an active investigation,’ but it’s really just a way to appease those types of inquiries.
On The David Mack & Amir Muhammad Theory
“The name Amir Muhammad was published in the Los Angeles Times as a suspect in Biggie’s murder. One of the biggest problems in the whole Biggie Smalls murder investigation was that there never was [any mention of] Amir Muhammad.
On The Video of Biggie’s Shooting
“There is no law enforcement video of the shooting. There was surveillance, out in California, by a task force, that was looking into drug and gun activities, because they were getting ready to indict Biggie and a couple of his friends on some narcotics and some guns that they had found in his house.
On Cops Working For Death Row
“David Mack never worked for [Death Row.] Mack never had any association whatsoever. These were Compton guys and Mack was L.A.P.D.. There has never, ever been one single viable connection with David Mack and Death Row whatsoever.
On The Wallace Family’s Lawsuit
“I would be the first to tell you if the L.A.P.D. was trying to protect themselves for acting inappropriately. We were told to solve this case by any means possible. The whole purpose of the renewed task force was a response to the Wallace’s civil case, but they never said, ‘Hey, get us out of this.’ It was, ‘Just try to solve it.’
On Nick Broomfield’s Movie Biggie & Tupac
“It was all bullshit. I’ve talked to [Biggie’s former bodyguard] Eugene Deal several times. We’ve had heart-to-hearts about that so-called ‘identification’ of the shooter. What people don’t know is that Eugene Deal had already been previously shown a police six-pack of different individuals, and he ID’d another guy as this so-called ‘Nation of Islam’ guy he saw outside the Petersen Automotive Museum that he saw acting suspicious that night.
On Chuck Philips’ L.A. Times Story Alleging That Biggie Provided The Gun For Pac’s Killing
“The Timesretracted that story. I know the clue that Chuck Philips relied on for that article, and it never actually mentioned Biggie. This is extremely important because it was misreported intentionally. Biggie’s name was never, ever mentioned in that clue.
On The Response To His Book Murder Rap
“I think the L.A.P.D. is very disappointed because I went public with all of this. It makes them look negligent and incompetent with the investigation. So there’s a little bit of embarrassment. I’m sure they’re not happy with it but that’s the extent of it.
On His Motivation For Writing The Book
“The burden of knowledge is heavy. I wanted to get the information out and move on. I hated the idea that the public had been so deceived, in regards to both of these murder investigations. I hated the idea that this information would always be suppressed because of law enforcement.
On The Aftermath
“I can guarantee you that you will never see criminal prosecution in either of these cases, but Voletta Wallace knows who killed her son. She knows that individual then died a violent death himself. The co-conspirators, yes, they have gotten away with it, but they have been exposed publicly. Suge Knight knows that everybody knows that he was behind Biggie’s murder.