By Gerrick D. Kennedy
5:27 PM EST, December 8, 2012
More than 15 years after Notorious B.I.G. was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, one of music’s most famous homicides remains unsolved, but police officials have released the slain rapper’s autopsy report hoping to generate new leads.
The Los Angeles Police Department unsealed the report, which had been on a security hold, on Friday, revealing the graphic details of how the Brooklyn-bred rapper, born Christopher Wallace, died in March 1997.
But as The Times' L.A. Now blog reported in its coverage of the autopsy report's release, the LAPD has released no new information about the investigation, and it's still unclear whether the release was prompted by new leads on the unsolved slaying. Wallace’s relatives, who have long been critical of the LAPD, said they hope authorities release more information.
"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?" Perry Sanders Jr., a civil rights attorney who represents Wallace's mother and other relatives, told Times reporter Richard Winton.
While there are plenty of unanswered questions, the autopsy revealed that although Wallace was shot four times, it was a single bullet that ended his life.
He was killed by a shot that entered his right hip before tearing through his colon, liver, heart and part of his lung before wedging in his left shoulder area. Wallace had no drugs or alcohol in his system, according to a toxicology screen.
When Wallace died he only had two albums of studio material under his belt (“Life After Death,” while released posthumously, was completed before his death), but he made himself an indelible force in the genre and helped put the East Coast sound on the map at a time when ears were glued to the gangster rap that was brewing out of the West.
Notorious B.I.G.: FBI investigation files
Earlier this year, as the 15th anniversary of his death (and the ambitious, but seminal “Life After Death”) approached, I wrote about Biggie’s contributions to rap music and how his ability to craft stories with witty wordplay and braggadocios swagger made him one of hip-hop's game-changing voices.