50 Cent is arrested on gun charges -- The ''Wanksta'' rapper and four associates are found with guns in their SUV

January 02, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

”I’m having a bad day,” rapper 50 Cent told the New York Post on Tuesday, as he was being booked on weapons possession charges. New York City police, who inspected the rapper’s bulletproof SUV for being parked in a loading zone outside the Copacabana nightclub, said they found two loaded guns, a .25-caliber and a .45-caliber handgun, on the floor of the van, as well as three bulletproof vests.

The 27-year-old rapper (real name: Curtis Jackson), whose hit song ”Wanksta” appears on Eminem’s top-selling ”8 Mile” soundtrack, was scheduled to perform at the club for an audience of 3,500, the New York Daily News reports. Instead, he and four members of his entourage were booked on gun charges.

The rapper was freed Tuesday night on $10,000 bail and arraigned. ”My clients are innocent,” attorney Charles Pringle, representing the five men, told the court, according to the Daily News. Pringle said the .45-caliber pistol was licensed to 50 Cent’s bodyguard, who was inside the club during the 2 a.m. incident on Tuesday. He also said that the bodyguard, whose day job is as a Connecticut bounty hunter, had recovered the other gun from a bail jumper. ”The stop was completely unjustified,” said promoter Jay Mangan, who booked 50 Cent to perform at the club, to the Daily News.

It’s no surprise that 50 Cent may have felt a strong need for protection. He survived being shot nine times in his car in a 2000 incident. He may have made enemies with ”Wanksta,” which pokes fun at several gangsta rappers. He’s a protégé of fellow Queens native Jam Master Jay, and after the Run-DMC DJ was slain in a still-unsolved murder in October, police feared 50 Cent might also be targeted for violence. He turned down an offer of police protection but did cancel a show in Manhattan the night Jay was killed.

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