The Associated Press reported that law enforcement had planned on warning the family of B.I.G., aka Christopher Wallace and Biggie Smalls, that the autopsy was going to be made public, but it was accidentally released early thanks to “an administrative error.”
“Our detectives personally spoke with the Wallace family (Friday) night, and apologized for not notifying them prior to the release,” said Capt. Billy Hayes, who is in charge of the homicide unit investigating the crime. “Obviously this has been a challenging case for us to solve. We hope that witnesses or other people with information will come forward and give us the clues we need to solve this case.”
The autopsy revealed Wallace was shot four times while sitting in the passenger side of a vehicle while leaving a music industry party. The fatal bullet entered Wallace in his right hip and traveled up through his colon, left lung and heart. The Notorious B.I.G. was only 24 years old at the time of his death and is seen today as one of the most influential rappers in the genre.
Autopsies are normally released days after a death, but in a high-profile case may be sealed for longer periods of time, according to the Los Angeles Times. Doctors performed emergency surgery on Wallace at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and removed two bullets. No drugs or alcohol were found in his system when he was pronounced dead later that night.
The Notorious B.I.G. was killed just months after rival rapper Tupac Shakur was in a similar shooting on the Las Vegas Strip. They each represented a side in the now-infamous East coast vs. West coast rap feud between Death Row Records and Bad Boy, which was led by Puff Daddy.
At the time witnesses to the B.I.G. murder came forward to say they saw lone black male pull up alongside the sport utility vehicle the rapper and his entourage were in and start shooting wildly, as noted by CBS. In 2005 the Wallace family levied a lawsuit against the LAPD for allegedly covering up evidence in the 1997 murder. Two officers, David Mack and Rafael Perez, were said to have close ties with Death Row Records and were both later convicted on unrelated crimes.