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Shaq makes citizen's arrest

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Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal helps police nab hit-and-run driver
BY ROB BARRY and EVAN S. BENN
rbarry@MiamiHerald.com

Miami Heat center and Miami Beach reserve officer Shaquille O'Neal has done it again -- this time, helping police nab a hit-and-run driver early Sunday morning.

It was 4 a.m., and O'Neal and bodyguard Jerome Crawford had just returned from an away game in Chicago.

They were outside Crawford's Coconut Grove home unloading luggage when a car, driven by Emmnueo Cibrin, 18, veered into O'Neal's parked 2007 Cadillac Escalade.

O'Neal and his bodyguard saw Cibrin leaving the scene, and leapt into the damaged SUV to give chase. They tailed Cibrin and passenger Junior Rondon for about five minutes before catching up with the two Tampa friends near Southwest 17th Avenue and Coral Way.

Rondon, 20, said he and Cibrin had just left the Vision Nightclub on Grand Avenue in Coconut Grove when they struck the open driver-side door of a black Cadillac Escalade parked in the street. Cibrin kept driving, Rondon said, but with good reason.

''He was going to stop, but then we saw the Escalade chasing us,'' Rondon told The Miami Herald on Sunday. ``We got scared and kept driving, you know?''

Cibrin could not be reached for comment.

They stopped a few minutes later, near a gas station, and Rondon said he and his friend were shocked to see the 7-foot-1 O'Neal step out of the Escalade's driver seat.

''I couldn't believe that,'' Rondon said. ``Of all the people. I mean, damn.''

The Heat center was stern with the friends, who came to Miami to party for the weekend, Rondon said.

''He told us to shut up,'' Rondon said. 'He said, `I don't want to talk to you right now.' ''

O'Neal flagged down a nearby police officer, Rondon said. Police ticketed Cibrin for several violations, including leaving the scene of an accident, Rondon said, adding that drunken driving was not one of the charges. It's unknown the amount of damage done to the Escalade.

Police confirmed that they responded to an accident at the scene, and a spokesman said further details and the police report would be released Monday. O'Neal has been sidelined on the court as of late as he recovers from knee surgery, but that hasn't slowed his fight against crime. The 34-year-old has repeatedly used his police skills since being sworn in as a Miami Beach police reserve officer in December 2005.

In September of that year , while he was still in police training, O'Neal helped officers capture a man accused of a hate crime.

O'Neal saw someone jump out of a car and hurl a bottle toward two men walking near Third Street and Washington Avenue in Miami Beach. The man also shouted some anti-gay slurs, police said.

O'Neal followed the suspect's car until he found an officer to flag down. Police arrested the suspect and charged him with assault.

In June 2006, as O'Neal was catching some sleep before Game 5 of the NBA Finals, a man was abducted on Miami Beach and dropped in front of O'Neal's Star Island home. The man, Ryan Bibbee, 23, woke up O'Neal and his wife Shaunie when Bibbee started ringing the security buzzer at 5 a.m.

''This is Detective O'Neal. I have a 38 in front of my house,'' Shaq told a 911 dispatcher at the time. ''38'' is police code for a suspicious person.

Police later arrested two men in connection with kidnapping and robbing Bibbee.

Then in September, O'Neal was part of a botched police raid in Bedford County, Va., where he is also a reserve deputy. O'Neal and officers burst into the home of a suspected child pornography offender. Turns out, it was the wrong address, and police returned the items they seized during the raid.

Even O'Neal's presence seems to have a crimefighting uptick: Last month, the star center was shopping in a Miami Beach Walgreens when police officers came to restrain a homeless man. Witnesses said shoppers were more interested in Shaq and his bright-blue outfit than the police incident.
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/16568218.htm
 

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