Crew of TV Detective Show Takes 5, Stages Real Arrest

Times Staff Writer

A suspected hit-and-run driver who injured a Los Angeles police officer Monday was captured in front of a police station in Reseda with the help of several members of the crew of the detective show "Simon and Simon," authorities said.

Los Angeles police said the suspect ran into the West Valley station with four crew members of the television show close behind. After seeing the man leave the scene of the accident, the crew members jumped into cars and chased him for about a mile, forcing him to stop in front of the police station in the 19000 block of Vanowen Street.

"They came crashing through the front door of the station with this donnybrook going," Detective Don Bellante said. "Officers jumped over the desk and grabbed them all until they could sort out who was who and what was going on."

Weapons Drawn

Bellante said the officers, who had drawn their weapons, finally arrested Samir Shamoun, 29, of Encino on suspicion of felony hit-and-run driving. He was being held at Van Nuys Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.

At 9:20 a.m., Shamoun, a painter, drove his van into a parking lot in the 19300 block of Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana and was told he had to back out by Officer Richard Neuenschwander, 53, Bellante said. Neuenschwander was in uniform and working off-duty as a security guard while equipment was set up in the parking lot for filming of a segment of the show at Monteleone's West restaurant.

Shamoun began to back up but, for an unknown reason, put the van in drive, Bellante said. When the van lurched forward, Neuenschwander attempted to get out of the way but tripped over a camera tripod and the van ran over his left leg and arm, Bellante said. Shamoun then sped away, Bellante said.

Forced to Stop

Four members of the "Simon and Simon" crew, Philip Tignino, 35, of Palmdale; Dana Crocker, 28, of Glendale; Tim Ryan of Panorama City, and Gary Daily of Acton jumped into two cars and chased the van into Reseda, Bellante said. On Vanowen Street, one of the crew members' cars cut in front of the van, forcing it to a stop at the curb, Bellante said.

"Ironically, this happened right in front of the West Valley station," he said.

All five men ran into the station where police stopped the fracas before anyone was injured, Bellante said.

Neuenschwander was taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center where he was listed in stable condition. The officer was expected to undergo surgery on his broken arm, Bellante said.

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