Biggie Smalls murder detective Russell Poole dies from heart attack while still probing unsolved case

Busta Rhymes brands death of former officer as 'strange'

Andrew Buncombe
Friday 21 August 2015 20:40
Biggie Smalls was killed in March 1997
Biggie Smalls was killed in March 1997

Has the murky just murkier?

Fans of the Biggie Smalls have responded with anguish after it emerged that the former detective investigating the murder of the rap legend had died of a heart attack.

Reports said that Russell Poole, a former Los Angeles police detective, died on Wednesday while interviewing an officer from the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department about an unspecified case. They said Mr Poole appeared to suffer a heart attack and fell to the floor after clutching his chest.

Russell Poole was said to be collecting material for a book when he died

Lt David Smith, a watch commander at the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, told The Independent that Mr Poole’s body had been brought in on Wednesday.

He said: “[Cause of death] has been deferred pending further investigation.”

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, for which Mr Poole used to work, said they had no information about the case.

Dept. Sara Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, which Mr Poole is reported to have died, said: “I can’t tell you anything because I don’t know anything.”

One report said Mr Poole, 58, was collecting material for a book about the death of Smalls, whose real name was Christopher Wallace and who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on 9 March 1997.

At the time of Smalls' murder Tupac Shakur was a rival

The 24-year-old rapper, also as Notorious BIG, was shot while sitting in a car at a red light.

The Los Angeles Times said that his death spawned countless conspiracy theories, among them that it was somehow connected to the Las Vegas slaying of rapper Tupac Shakur six months earlier because they and their respective record companies were seen as rivals.

Mr Poole advanced the theory that MrWallace’s death came from a plot involving a corrupt LAPD detective and Marion “Suge” Knight, who headed Mr Shakur’s company when he was killed. Mr Wallace’s killing was carried out in retaliation, Mr Poole suggested.

Mr Knight is now in jail awaiting a possible murder trial in a separate incident and was never implicated in Mr Wallace’s killing.

The Times said Mr Poole quit the police force in 1999 after a series of disputes over the direction of multiple investigations, including Mr Wallace’s murder. Neither of the men's killings have been solved.

Many have reacted to news of Mr Poole's death with suspicion. The rapper Busta Rhymes thanked Mr Poole for investigating the case.

Writing on social media, he added: "Coincidentally he dies after meeting with the police about the cold case of Biggie's death and strangely collapse's shortly after and was unresponsive and was pronounced dead when he arrived at the hospital," he wrote. "Ain't this some s--t?"

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