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.
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.
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.
“Suge Knight ended up going to jail on a probation violation, stemming from the beating of Orlando Anderson [Ed. Note—Anderson is Keefe D’s nephew, also a Southside Crip who allegedly shot Tupac.] in the MGM Grand hotel. While Suge was in jail, he conspired with his girlfriend. Suge gave her the directive to get Poochie.
“Wardell ‘Poochie’ Fouse was paid to kill Biggie. At the time, he was a 36-year old member of the Mob Piru Bloods. According to several Death Row insiders and FBI informants, Poochie was a down-for-the-cause, hardcore gang member. Confidential sources from the Death Row entourage, the Mob Pirus, and [Suge’s girlfriend, identified in Kading's book by the alias "Theresa Swann"], said Poochie had done shootings for Suge in the past. Reggie Wright Jr.—who was the head of Death Row security—said Suge and Poochie’s relationship was different than other members of the gang. They had a very secretive and exclusive relationship.
“[Suge’s girlfriend] and Poochie agreed to terms. He received two payments, one for $9000 and one for $4000. Poochie lay in wait outside the Petersen Automotive Museum. As soon as he became aware of where Biggie was sitting in his car, he drove up and he shot him.”
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.
“Those are the facts within law enforcement. They’re considered solved internally, but the public’s definition of solved is different. They haven’t gone through the judicial process and nobody has been prosecuted.
“Both shooters are dead. Orlando Anderson was killed outside a Compton record shop in May 1998. Poochie died in July 2003 as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. He was shot in the back while riding his motorcycle in Compton. He was supposedly killed as a result of in-fighting between the Mob Pirus—Suge’s Blood associates—and another Blood gang known as the Fruit Town Pirus.
“That’s all the justice that these cases will see. The co-conspirators are never going to be prosecuted. Unfortunately, the cases are so complicated and convoluted. These will never see criminal prosecution.
“The co-conspirators are absolutely known and I say that with conviction. I worked directly on these cases for years and know exactly where they stand within law enforcement. They would be very problematic prosecutions because of all of the convoluted peripheral issues that were raised during the investigation.
“The D.A. in Los Angeles knows that this is an extremely difficult situation to try and prosecute. Here’s the problem; You’ve got [Suge’s girlfriend] confessing, and then, there was a bad move by law enforcement to giveher immunity. The shooter’s dead, the female confessor has immunity, so you just have Suge Knight.
“The D.A.’s office in Los Angeles has a policy: They don’t prosecute murders based on the testimony of one witness, which is now just the girlfriend. So the D.A.’s realizing, ‘OK, what are we going to do? We’re going to prosecute Suge Knight for solicitation of murder and the whole thing’s based on the testimony of his girlfriend? We can bring in all this circumstantial stuff and we can bring in the history between these crews, but ultimately, a good defense attorney’s going to say, 'Hey isn’t this all just an elaborate cover-up, because the L.A.P.D. actually murdered Biggie?’ The defense is going to try and turn the thing back around. So the D.A. realizes that there’s not really a potential for a successful prosecution.”
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