Russell Poole Dead: Ex-LAPD Detective Investigated Notorious B.I.G. Murder, Claimed He Knew Who Killed Rapper

Russell Poole, the detective who led the investigation into the murder of Notorious B.I.G. in 1997, died on Wednesday of a suspected heart attack.

Los Angeles Times, via Billboard, have reported that Poole died while he was talking to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide officials about an ongoing investigation into a cold case.

Poole has always insisted that he knew who really murdered Christopher Wallace, who was killed on March 9, 1997, as he left the Soul Train Music Awards after-party, which was being held at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Poole has accused a corrupt officer for the LAPD of committing the murder after working in conjunction with Suge Knight, the head of Death Row Records. Poole named one of the officers that he thought was involved as David Mack, who that same year was sent to prison for robbing a bank.

Poole also added that he thought Reggie Wright Jr., who was the head of security for Death Row Records, had arranged for the shooting. Reggie Wright Jr. has always insisted that he had nothing to do with it.

Poole went on to add that he believed the murder was ordered in response to the death of Tupac Shakur, who was gunned down in Las Vegas just six months before Biggie Smalls was himself slain.

Poole made this conclusion after several months of investigation. However, his revelation wasn’t taken well by the then-police chief of the LAPD, Bernard C. Parks.

Parks soon told Poole to stop his investigation into the murder of Notorious B.I.G., which then led Poole to quit and retire from the force in 1999. Talking about his decision to CNN in 2011, Poole explained, “I think I was getting too close to the truth. I think they feared the truth would be a scandal.”

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Speaking to Nick Broomfield in the filmmaker’s 2002 documentary Biggie & Tupac, Poole also explained, via Rolling Stone, “Had we’d been able to aggressively investigate and had the heart to connect the two and do a thorough investigation, I think we probably would have found out more information. I think the fact that law enforcement officers were working for Death Row, that was a scandal in itself … Suge Knight, to me, was one of the most powerful gangsters around. He was well-organized, he had a lot of power, and what gave him the power, he had dozens and dozens of police officers working in his organization.”

Meanwhile, Parks has always accused rumors of a cover-up of being “absurd,” adding, “We would have never ignored a lead that could have helped us solve that murder.”

After leaving the LAPD, Poole would later file a lawsuit against the police department because they prevented him from releasing his findings to the public. He then spent the best part of the last decade working as a private investigator, a capacity that he used to continue his investigation into the murder of the Notorious B.I.G. The murder of Christopher Wallace still remains unsolved.

[Photo by Paul Hawthorne / Getty Images]