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March 9, 2017

On the 20th anniversary of Biggie’s murder, track’s strange ties to the case

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the unsolved murder of Bed Stuy’s own Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G, one of the greatest and most influential rappers of all time. I’m not even going to attempt a eulogy here because I’m probably barely in the top 75th percentile in terms of knowledgeable Biggie fans out there and I’d embarrass myself, but if you Google around I’m sure you’ll find something accurate and heart wrenching.

No, this short post (for which I take zero journalistic credit, so I’m linking my sources) is basically just about Biggie’s murder investigation’s ties to the world of track & field. Namely, that a person of interest in the murder case, is 1980s American half-miler superstar David Mack.

While a Duck, Mack was a three-time Pac-10 conference champion in the 800m and even won an NCAA title over the same distance in 1982. The next year, he represented the United States at the 1983 World Track & Field Championships in Helsinki, Finland and he did so again at the 1987 World Championships in Rome. As a professional, he competed for the Santa Monica Track Club and his career best of 1:43.35 makes him the seventh fastest American 800m runner of all time. Following his retirement from the sport after injury hampered his attempt at making an Olympic team, Mack moved home to his native Los Angeles and became a cop.

And despite his accolades on the track, Mack is more notorious (I’m sorry) for what he did as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department. In 1999 he was convicted on charges stemming from the 1997 robbery of a Los Angeles Bank of America, in which over $700,000 was stolen. He was issued a 14 year, three month sentence and was released in 2010, but not before being stabbed while jogging in prison, so apparently running hasn’t stopped being important to the guy. Federal investigations also probed into claims made by an informant that Mack and fellow LAPD Officer Rafael Perez were involved in the deaths of three people and dumped their bodies in Tijuana, Mexico.

Between his arrest and conviction for the August, 1997 robbery, Mack worked off-duty as a bodyguard for Suge Knight and it was these two events that more or less spurred on any allegations of his involvement in the March 9th, 1997 murder. Released FBI files indicate that following his robbery arrest, bullets thought to be the same as the ones used in Biggie’s murder, along with a shrine to Tupac Shakur, were found at Mack’s residence.

In 2007 Mack was named in a wrongful death lawsuit by the estate of Christopher Wallace, which claimed, among other things, a conspiracy on the part of the ex-Officers Perez and Mack to murder Wallace, and that the city covered up their involvement. The Wallace family voluntarily dismissed the suit in 2010.

Speculation abounds but the strongest conspiratory voices on the Internet allege that Mack and an associate were hired by Knight to pull of a retaliatory hit on Biggie, following the murder of Tupac the year before. This theory was most notably by pressed by retired LAPD Detective Russell Poole before he died of a heart attack last February.

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