Remember When Jamaican Police Shot at Jimmy Buffett and Bono From U2?
Jimmy Buffett lived a very colorful life, but an incident that took place in 1996 was pretty outlandish even by his standards. On Jan. 16, 1996, Buffett and U2 singer Bono were shot at by Jamaican police while aboard Buffett's plane.
Buffett was an avid pilot, and he owned a seaplane called the Hemisphere Dancer. He was piloting that plane during a trip to Jamaica with Bono, Bono's wife Ali and their two children, along with Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, when local authorities received a trip that a drug-smuggling operation was working in the area.
When the plane landed in Negril, near a spot where Buffett wanted to introduce his friends to a favorite jerk chicken he'd found, the confused police opened fire as the passengers began to disembark, believing them to be drug smugglers. Bono and his family had to dive for safety to avoid being hit by the bullets, which cracked the windshield of the plane and punched holes in the fuselage. Buffett later estimated that at least seven shots were fired, but nobody aboard the plane was injured.
Bono was so upset by the incident that he and his family left Jamaica immediately afterward, while Buffett stayed behind to settle things with the police. He later satirized the incident in a song titled "Jamaica Mistaica," and he was philosophical about it in speaking to the Spokane Spokesman-Review the following year.
“Like all things, it made for a good song,” Buffett observed. “I know that there are times in my life where I probably should have been shot at for a lot worse behavior. But on this particular instance, I was innocent. Not even a spliff.”
“Nobody was hurt, so I said, ‘Let’s just get on with it,'" he added. "Some people said, ‘God you could have sued them, you could have sued the government.’ But I went, ‘No, it’s probably karma. We’re even now.'”
Jimmy Buffett died on Friday night (Sept. 1), surrounded by friends and family. He was 76 years old.