Nas Gig Stopped By Gunfire

American rapper Nas‘ March 21st show at London’s Brixton Academy was cut short after a gunman fired two shots into the venue’s ceiling.

Nobody has been arrested in connection with the incident, although eyewitnesses told BBC News that the gunman jumped on stage and let off two rounds. A March 22nd press release from the venue denied the gunman leapt on stage and BBC has since removed that part of the story from its Web site.

Detective Superintendent Jon Bishop from London’s New Scotland Yard has been quoted on news services as saying, “We have witnesses who saw a man, wearing a balaclava, move away from the crowds and stand behind a pillar – near to the bar area – before he discharged two bullets.”

Police launched an appeal for more witnesses March 22nd and announced the matter has been handed over to its Operation Trident unit, which investigates gun and drug crimes in the black community.

Steve Forster, operations director for venue owner Academy Music Group (AMG), told Pollstar he’s satisfied the Brixton security is “rigorous and robust,” but confirmed the company will hold its own internal enquiry.

AP Security, which has the contract for the building, is believed to have had more than 100 personnel on duty at the concert, with secure cordons across the building and eight metal detectors on site for full security checks and searches upon entry. It wasn’t possible to get a comment from AP at press time.

Forster also confirmed the venue, which was subject to a painstaking police search, is continuing with business as usual.

The shots were fired shortly after 9:50 p.m. before Nas was halfway through his set. The show was stopped immediately and about 2,500 fans were evacuated from the building.

Police have confirmed two bullets and two casings have been recovered from the scene. Although nobody was hurt by the gun shots, The Evening Standard‘s “This Is London” Web site reported that people were injured leaving the building. It quoted 32-year-old Marci Jiljolson as saying, “We all tried to run out at the same time and I saw lots of people get stuck in the doors and trampled on the floor.”

The incident comes days after a man was shot and seriously injured outside Browns nightclub in London’s Holborn district.

Nas was on the final leg of a British tour.