A bodyguard for Lil' Kim (search) who admitted firing a gun at least 20 times in a shootout as the rapper left a hip-hop radio station was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Gerard Lynch said Suif Jackson (search), 34, deserved a harsh sentence because society had to be protected from a machine gun-toting man convicted five times of criminal charges, including three times for crimes of violence.

The judge ordered Jackson to finish a state prison sentence, which ends Aug. 7, 2006, before beginning the federal term. The state sentence was for an unrelated crime.

Jackson declined to speak before he was sentenced.

Authorities said the 2001 shooting occurred as Lil' Kim's entourage was leaving the hip-hop station WQHT, or Hot 97, and the entourage of rival rap group Capone-N-Noreaga (search) was arriving. One man in the group's entourage was wounded.

Lil' Kim, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, is awaiting a February trial on charges that she lied to a grand jury investigating the shooting.

Prosecutors say she refused one day after the shooting to tell police the identities of anyone who had accompanied her to the radio station. They said she testified falsely before a federal grand jury three times, including denying that she knew Jackson.

Prosecutors said Lil' Kim thanked Jackson in the notes to one album and expressed her affection for him. They said she and Jackson had been members of the Jr. M.A.F.I.A rap group, formed by the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.

The shootout occurred the same year Lil' Kim, known for her revealing outfits and risque lyrics, won a Grammy Award for her part in the hit remake of "Lady Marmalade." (search

Defense lawyer Mark Goodman said Jackson believed he was firing in self-defense and believed the victim was part of Capone's entourage.