The Los Angeles Police Department has apologized to family members of Notorious B.I.G., aka Christopher Wallace, for recently releasing the slain rapper's autopsy report before notifying them about it first.
The documents were published by various press outlets on Friday after a security hold on it was lifted, a coroner's office investigator said. The killer of Wallace, who was shot dead in Los Angeles at age 24 in 1997, was never identified. The 15-year-old case remains open and investigators had hoped publishing the autopsy would help bring about new information about it.
LAPD Captain Billy Hayes, head of the division investigating the shooting, told the Los Angeles Times: "Our detectives personally spoke with the Wallace family [Friday] night, and apologized for not notifying them prior to the release. 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 LAPD also said in a statement that the autopsy report was released "prematurely" because of "an administrative error" and that "Robbery-Homicide Division detectives had intended to notify Mr. Wallace's family prior to releasing the report."
The shooting remains one of the most high-profile homicides in Los Angeles and the celebrity world, In January, it was reported that an investigation into the slaying of the rapper, also known as Biggie Smalls, had been "reinvigorated" due to new information that had surfaced." The FBI and Los Angeles police have both been probing the incident.
The New York rapper, who also went by the name Biggie Smalls, was shot four times while sitting in a vehicle after leaving a music industry party at the Petersen Automotive Museum, held in celebration of the 11th annual Soul Train Music Awards, in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997. One of the shots was fatal.
He was survived by his mother Voletta Wallace, widow and fellow singer Faith Evans, who later recorded the Police-inspired duet "I'll Be Missing You" with Notorious B.I.G.'s friend Sean Combs, who was with him at the party, and son Christopher "CJ" Wallace Jr., who played the child version of his father in the 2009 film "Notorious." He was four months old when his father was killed.
On the day the documents were released, the Associated Press quoted a lawyer for Notorious B.I.G.'s family as saying that it is ridiculous that arrests haven't been made in the killing because police officials told him the case was solved years ago. The outlet said the attorney has sued the city of Los Angeles over the matter.
(Pictured above: Notorious B.I.G. appears alongside producer Sean 'Puffy' Combs, center, and an unidentified artist of Bad Boy Entertainment on Saturday evening, March 8, 1997, in Los Angeles, at a party at the Petersen Automotive Museum, held in celebration of Friday's 11th annual Soul Train Music Awards. Wallace, 24, was gunned down as he left the party and was later pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. / A page from Smalls' autopsy report, released 15 years later -- on Dec. 7, 2012. Credit: AP Photo / Venus Bernardo-Prudhomme / Los Angeles County Coroner's Office)