Meat Puppets' Cris Kirkwood Shot After Beating Security Guard

By | December 30, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Cris Kirkwood, former bassist for influential alternative rock band the Meat Puppets, remained hospitalized Monday after being shot in the abdomen on Friday.

Kirkwood was shot outside a post office in downtown Phoenix by a security guard escorting him off the premises after he was involved in an argument with a woman over a parking space, according to a spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center in nearby Banner, Arizona, in critical condition and underwent surgery on the wound, a hospital spokesperson said.

As the 43-year-old Kirkwood attempted to back into a spot on the street at around 5 p.m., Jenny Hom, 32, also began to pull into the same spot from the rear and honked her horn. Both drivers then pulled into a parking lot.

Kirkwood, shouting obscenities, followed Hom toward the post office and stopped her on the sidewalk.

“He shrugged his shoulder as if he was going to hit me,” she told The Arizona Republic. “He didn’t hit me.”

She informed a post-office security guard about the incensed Kirkwood, who had followed her inside, and the guard escorted him out of the building, according to the FBI spokesperson. There, Kirkwood shoved the guard, who then drew his collapsible baton and again instructed him to leave the premises.

At that point, a scuffle ensued. Kirkwood punched the guard, who responded by hitting Kirkwood’s leg. Kirkwood then grabbed the guard’s baton and hit him in the left side of the head. Fearing that the beating would continue, the guard drew his sidearm and fired one round. He then called Phoenix police.

The FBI is investigating the incident because it happened in a federal building. Kirkwood could be charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, a federal felony.

With his older brother Curt, Kirkwood formed the Meat Puppets in Phoenix in 1980. The band released six albums for the famed SST label before signing with major label London Records. With their combination of punk, country and jam-band roots, the Meat Puppets influenced many bands in the early 1990s, most notably Nirvana, who tapped them to open their 1993 In Utero tour.

Nirvana covered three Meat Puppets tunes, “Plateau,” “Oh, Me” and “Lake of Fire,” for 1994’s MTV Unplugged album, and the Kirkwood brothers also played with Nirvana for the television special.

The Meat Puppets scored their biggest mainstream hit with “Backwater” from 1994’s Too High to Die.The band’s last album, Golden Lies, was released in 2000 without the participation of Cris, whose long struggle with heroin addiction contributed to the group’s eventual demise.

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