Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

A retired Los Angeles police detective who handled the murder case of rapper Biggie Smalls has died from a suspected heart attack, officials said Thursday.

Russell Poole, 62, collapsed Wednesday morning while meeting with detectives about a cold case, sheriff’s officials told the Los Angeles Times. He died at a hospital, according to the coroner’s office.

Poole worked on the Smalls murder case for about a year, according to The Times.

The 24-year-old New York rapper, born Christopher Wallace and also known as Notorious B.I.G., was shot to death while sitting in a car at a red light in Mid-Wilshire on March 9, 1997.

The rapper’s death spawned 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.

Poole advanced the theory that Wallace’s death emerged from a plot involving a corrupt LAPD detective and Marion “Suge” Knight, who headed Shakur’s company when Shakur was killed. Wallace’s killing was retaliation, Poole suggested, according to The Times.

Knight, who is in jail awaiting trial for allegedly running down two men in Compton with a pickup, killing one of them, was never formally implicated in Wallace’s killing.

According to The Times, Poole quit the police force in 1999 after a series of disputes over the direction of multiple investigations, including Wallace’s murder.

Both the Wallace and Shakur killings remain unresolved.

— City News Service 

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