One of the last living witnesses to the drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas in 1996 has been charged with murder.

The charges represent a long-awaited breakthrough in a case that has frustrated investigators and fascinated the public ever since the hip-hop star was killed.

A Nevada grand jury indicted Duane "Keffe D" Davis over the killing, prosecutors announced in court on Friday.

Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo told the court, "The presumption is great that he is responsible for the murder of Tupac Shakur, and he will be found guilty of murder with use of a deadly weapon."

The charges were revealed hours after Davis, 60, was arrested, officials said.

He has long been known to investigators and previously admitted that he was in the Cadillac where the gunfire erupted during the September 1996 drive-by shooting.

The arrest comes two months after Las Vegas police raided his wife’s home on 17 July. Documents said police were looking for items "concerning the murder of Tupac Shakur".

Police reported collecting multiple computers, a mobile phone and hard drive, a Vibe magazine that featured Shakur, several .40-calibre bullets, two "tubs containing photographs" and a book.

Shakur was 25 when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting near the Las Vegas Strip on the night of September 7 1996.

The rapper was in a BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight in a convoy of about 10 cars. They were waiting at a red light when a white Cadillac pulled up next to them and gunfire erupted.

Shakur was shot multiple times and died a week later.

Shakur’s death came as his fourth solo album, All Eyez on Me, remained on the charts, with some five million copies sold. Nominated six times for a Grammy Award, Shakur is largely considered one of the most influential and versatile rappers of all time.

Shakur was feuding at the time with rap rival Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G., who was fatally shot in March 1997. At the time, both rappers were in the middle of an East Coast-West Coast rivalry that primarily defined the hip-hop scene during the mid-1990s.

Source: Press Association / AFP