Notorious B.I.G.'s autopsy: LAPD hopes for new leads in killing
The Los Angeles Police Department took the unusual step Friday of unsealing the 15-year-old autopsy of rapper Notorious B.I.G., saying they hoped to generate new leads in the mystery.
The autopsy had been kept private at the request of investigators. But on Friday, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office released the 23-page report, 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.
Notorious B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher George Latore Wallace, died in March 1997 when when he was shot four times in a drive-by attack on Wilshire Boulevard while sitting in the front passenger seat of a Chevrolet Suburban.
Although he was hit four times, only one of the shots was fatal, the autopsy said.
That shot, according to Dr. Lisa Scheinin, entered his right hip before slicing through his colon, liver, heart and part of his lung before wedging in his left shoulder area.
One shot hit Wallace's left forearm and traveled down to his wrist, while a another shot 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 before glancing off his scrotum.
Examiners 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. Doctors performed emergency surgery, but he died from his wounds.
Two medium-caliber lead bullets were recovered from his hospital gurney.
No drugs or alcohol were found in his system, according to a toxicology screen.The unexpected release of the autopsy after all this time caught the rapper’s family off guard. Family members said they were disheartened the case had still not been solved.
“They had no idea this happened,” said Perry Sanders Jr., a civil rights attorney who represents Wallace's mother and other relatives. “This is one of the highest profile murders in the world. This is about criminal justice.”
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 a short time later.
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 Friday.
-- Richard Winton
Follow Richard Winton (@LACrimes) on Twitter and Google+Photo: Notorious B.I.G. in a Los Angeles hotel room in 1997 where he was promoting his double album "Life After Death." Credit: Los Angeles Times