Russell Poole Cause of Death: How the LAPD Detective Died While Investigating Biggie Smalls Murder

Russell Poole was a former Los Angeles Police Department detective who was best known for his investigation of the murder of the rapper Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls. Poole also looked into the killing of LAPD Officer Kevin Gaines by another officer, Frank Lyga, in 1997. Poole retired from the police force in 1999 and formed a private detective agency. He continued to pursue the unsolved cases of Biggie and Tupac Shakur, another rapper who was killed in 1996. Poole died suddenly of a heart attack in 2015 while meeting with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide investigators to discuss a cold case. Here are some facts about Russell Poole’s cause of death and his involvement in the rap murders.

A Heart Attack During a Cold Case Meeting

According to Rolling Stone, Poole suffered a heart attack on August 19, 2015, while meeting with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide investigators to discuss a cold case. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 58 years old. The exact details of the cold case he was working on are not known, but some reports suggested that it was related to the death of Biggie Smalls. Poole had been collecting material for a book about the rapper’s murder, which he believed was orchestrated by a corrupt LAPD detective and Suge Knight, the head of Death Row Records, the label that Tupac Shakur was signed to. Poole also claimed that Biggie’s killing was carried out in retaliation for Tupac’s death, which he suspected was ordered by Sean Combs, the CEO of Bad Boy Records, the label that Biggie Smalls was signed to.

A Controversial Theory About Biggie and Tupac’s Murders

Poole’s theory about the involvement of LAPD officers and rap moguls in the murders of Biggie and Tupac was controversial and disputed by many. He based his theory on his investigation of the shooting death of Kevin Gaines, an off-duty LAPD officer who was killed by Frank Lyga, an undercover officer, in a road rage incident in March 1997. Poole discovered that Gaines was romantically involved with Suge Knight’s estranged wife and that he had ties to Death Row Records. He also found out that Gaines had threatened Lyga with a gun before Lyga shot him in self-defense. Poole believed that Gaines was part of a group of rogue LAPD officers who worked as security guards for Death Row Records and were involved in criminal activities such as drug trafficking and money laundering. He also suspected that some of these officers were involved in Tupac’s shooting in Las Vegas in September 1996 and Biggie’s shooting in Los Angeles in March 1997.

Poole’s theory was supported by some witnesses and evidence, such as a sketch of Biggie’s shooter that resembled David Mack, another LAPD officer who was convicted of bank robbery in 1997 and who also had ties to Death Row Records. Poole also claimed that he had received anonymous tips from informants who confirmed his theory. However, Poole’s theory was rejected by his superiors and other investigators, who accused him of being biased and obsessed with the rap murders. They argued that there was no conclusive proof that linked the LAPD officers or the rap moguls to the killings and that Poole’s theory was based on speculation and conspiracy. They also pointed out that there were other possible suspects and motives for the murders, such as gang rivalry, personal feud, or random violence.

A Legacy of Dedication and Controversy

Poole’s death sparked mixed reactions from the public and the media. Some praised him for his dedication and courage to expose corruption and injustice in the LAPD and to seek the truth about the rap murders. They considered him a hero and a martyr who died while pursuing his mission. Some rap artists, such as Busta Rhymes and Ice-T, expressed their condolences and gratitude to Poole for his work. Others criticized him for being unprofessional and irresponsible for spreading unfounded allegations and conspiracy theories that tarnished the reputation of the LAPD and the rap industry. They considered him a disgruntled and delusional former cop who had an agenda against his former colleagues and employers.

Poole’s death also raised questions about the status and progress of the investigations into Biggie and Tupac’s murders, which remain unsolved to this day. Some wondered if Poole had any new evidence or information that could shed light on the cases or if he was close to cracking them before he died. Others doubted if the cases would ever be solved or if the truth would ever be revealed, given the complexity and controversy surrounding them. Poole’s death also renewed the interest and attention of the public and the media to the rap murders, which have been the subject of numerous documentaries, books, movies, and songs over the years.

Poole’s death also inspired a biographical film based on his life and work, titled City of Lies, which was released in 2021. The film stars Johnny Depp as Poole and Forest Whitaker as a journalist who teams up with him to investigate Biggie’s murder. The film is based on the book LAbyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., the Implication of Death Row Records’ Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal, written by Randall Sullivan and published in 2002. The film depicts Poole’s struggle to uncover the truth and to expose the corruption and conspiracy that he believed were behind the rap murders.

Doms Desk

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