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Tupac Shakur's Stepdad Released From Prison After Serving Nearly 40 Years For Deadly 1981 Brinks Armored Truck Heist

Mutulu Shakur had been serving a 60-year sentence for his role in a 1981 heist of a Brinks armored car that left one security guard and two police officers dead.

By Jill Sederstrom
A Short History of Bonnie and Clyde

Rapper Tupac Shakur’s stepfather, who has been serving time behind bars for nearly four decades for a 1981 armored truck heist that left three dead, was released from federal prison on Friday.

The U.S. Parole Commission agreed to grant 72-year-old Mutulu Shakur compassionate release after he became terminally ill and was considered “no longer physically capable” of committing any crime, according to The Journal News.

Shakur — once a member of the Black Liberation Army and Republic of New Afrika movement — had been denied parole since 2016 and was most recently denied once again in April of this year before his health took a turn for the worst.

“After careful consideration of this new and favorable information, the Commission finds your medical condition has significantly deteriorated since your last hearing in April of 2022,” the commission noted in their Nov. 10 decision, obtained by the news outlet. “We now find your medical condition renders you so infirm of mind and body that you are no longer physically capable of committing any Federal, State or local crime.”

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Benjamin O’Cone, a spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons Office of Public Affairs, confirmed the release to Oxygen.com.

According to O’Cone, Shakur had been serving a 60-year sentence for bank robbery killings, armed robbery, bank robbery, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Conspiracy and RICO Substantive when he was granted parole.

Tupac Shakur and Mutulu Shakur

Shakur was a member of a heavily armed gang who robbed a Brink’s armored truck carrying $1.6 million at the Nanuet Mall in Rockland County, New York — killing armored guard Peter Paige and wounding his partner Joseph Trombino — on Oct. 20, 1981, according to News 12 Brooklyn.

As police attempted to stop the group using a roadblock at the New York State Thruway, Nyack Police Sgt. Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown were also killed.

Trombino died 20 years later during the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Shakur, a former acupuncturist once named to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, went on the run for six years until he was arrested in California in 1986. He was convicted on May 11, 1988 alongside Marilyn Jean Buck, who served as the getaway driver.

Buck died from uterine cancer in 2010 at the age of 62, according to The Journal News. She had been granted release from prison due to her health concerns.

Kathy Boudin — who also served 22 years for her role in the deadly heist — died in May after being paroled in 2003. Others involved with the crime, including Judith Clark and David Gilbert, have already been granted parole.

Paige’s son Michael Paige has long been vocal about his desire to keep Shakur behind bars.

“When my father and Officers O’Grady and Brown walk out of their graves, he can get a second chance,” Michael said in 2018, according to The Journal News.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day, who once served as a NYPD commander, slammed the parole board’s decision to grant Shakur’s release, calling it “disrespectful” and “horribly insulting” to the families in a statement to Oxygen.com.

“How can a compassionate release be granted for someone who played a role in callously killing three people?” he said in a release obtained by the outlet. “Once someone is murdered, they are gone forever and this individual, Mutulu Shakur, is responsible for not one, not two, but three deaths which included two police officers and a security guard all in the name of robbing a Brinks armored truck in Nanuet in 1981.”

“Anyone who chooses to commit such an act deserves to spend the rest of their life in prison,” Day continued. “Shakur should have faced the full consequences for his heinous crime no matter how mch time has passed.”

A website run by Shakur’s supporters confirmed that he was released from prison Friday morning and is home “with his family.”

“We ask that everyone respect Dr. Shakur’s privacy while he spends the holidays with his family and concentrates on his health and healing,” they wrote.

Shakur was the stepfather of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, who was gunned down in a Las Vegas drive-by shooting in 1996.

Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, and Mutulu Shakur were married in the 1970s and 1980s, according to The New York Post.  

As part of the conditions of his parole, Shakur is prohibited from having any direct or indirect contact with any of the victims’ families, his co-defendant or co-conspirators or his sister Joanne Chessimard, also known as Assata Shakur.

Chesimard, also a member of the revolutionary extremist organization known as the Black Liberation Army, was convicted in 1977 for the first-degree murder of a New Jersey State Police trooper, according to the FBI. The trooper was shot to death in 1973 during a traffic stop. Chesimard had been wanted at the time for “her involvement in several felonies” including bank robbery.

Chesimard escaped from prison in 1979 and is believed to be living in Cuba, authorities said.