The Los Angeles Times, yes the LOS ANGELES TIMES, has issued an apology regarding the story they printed by Chuck Phillips about the 1994 attack on rap superstar Tupac Shakur. It seems that it there was one tiny problem. It was based on fraudulent documents.

According to the Times, reporter Chuck Philips and his supervisor, Deputy Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin, issued statements of apology Wednesday afternoon. The statements came after The Times took withering criticism for the Shakur article, which appeared on latimes.com last week and two days later in the paper’s Calendar section.

The criticism came first from The Smoking Gun website, which said the newspaper had been the victim of a hoax, and then from subjects of the story, who said they had been defamed.

“In relying on documents that I now believe were fake, I failed to do my job,” Philips said in a statement Wednesday. “I’m sorry.”

In his statement, Duvoisin added: “We should not have let ourselves be fooled. That we were is as much my fault as Chuck’s. I deeply regret that we let our readers down.”

Times Editor Russ Stanton announced that the newspaper would launch an internal review of the documents and the reporting surrounding the story. Stanton said he took the criticisms of the March 17 report “very seriously.”

“We published this story with the sincere belief that the documents were genuine, but our good intentions are beside the point,” Stanton said in a statement.

“The bottom line is that the documents we relied on should not have been used. We apologize both to our readers and to those referenced in the documents and, as a result, in the story. We are continuing to investigate this matter and will fulfill our journalistic responsibility for critical self-examination.”

The story first appeared March 17 on latimes.com under the headline “An Attack on Tupac Shakur Launched a Hip-Hop War.” The article described a Nov. 30, 1994, ambush at Quad Recording Studios in New York, where the rap singer was pistol-whipped and shot several times by three men. No one has been charged in the crime, but before his death two years later, Shakur said repeatedly that he suspected allies of rap impresario Sean “Diddy” Combs.

The assault touched off a bicoastal war between Shakur and fellow adherents of West Coast rap and their East Coast rivals, most famously represented by Christopher Wallace, better known as Notorious B.I.G. Both Shakur and Wallace ultimately died violently.

The Times story said the paper had obtained “FBI records” in which a confidential informant accused two men of helping to set up the attack on Shakur — James Rosemond, a prominent rap talent manager, and James Sabatino, identified in the story as a promoter. The story said the two allegedly wanted to curry favor with Combs and believed Shakur had disrespected them.

All I have to say regarding this is that the Times has recently undergone several layoffs that have resulted in the newsroom being understaffed and unable or unwilling, depending on how you look at it, to cover the real stories of Los Angeles.

I cram to understand how though, the Times has the resources to investigate a 14 year old murder, but not to investigate the unsolved murders of Los Angeles, like killing of college student Nicole Harvey on Jan. 26.

Nicole was 21 and a student at Southwest College who worked in a day-care center. She went to wait for a bus to work at the corner of 45th Street and Western Avenue in Los Angeles early Jan. 26, and her burned body–pierced with possible gunshot wounds–was found in the 8100 block of Tuscany Avenue in Playa Del Rey that afternoon.

Sometime in between, Harvey mysteriously called her bosses claiming she had a family emergency and wouldn’t be coming to work.

There’s a $50,000 reward being offered to the capture and conviction of her killer or killers.

Now if you ask me, that’s a murder that the Los Angeles Times should be investigating if they want to investigate killings.