L.L. Cool J Concert Gets Too Hot

08/13/2002 at 01:00 PM EDT

Bad news for rapper LL Cool J. His concert Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in the Southern California town of Irvine, in conservative Orange County, was shut down after members of rival gangs took over the stage and began clubbing people with metal bars, police told Reuters on Monday. Security guards lost control of the crowd of 15,000 people, a police spokesman said, and three people received minor injuries after being crushed by the crowd. As of Monday, says Reuters, about 30 people were in custody to face possible charges ranging from drug possession to parole violations. The melee reportedly began when LL Cool J, 34 (his real name is James Todd Smith; his nickname stands for "Ladies Love Cool James") stopped singing when he was interrupted by taunts between two rival groups. The screaming then escalated to violence, said police, who moved in to stop the show. LL Cool J told a local TV station the incident was "just appalling" and "a prime example of how much, how we as black men really need ... someone around us who can guide us in the right direction, and how we are so in desperate need of attention that we would ruin an event just to feel important."

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