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Rapper Vanilla Ice Arrested on Charge of Brandishing Gun

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<i> From Associated Press</i>

Rap singer Vanilla Ice was arrested early Monday for investigation of pulling a handgun on a man who tried to sell him a piece of jewelry in a supermarket parking lot, police said.

Vanilla Ice, whose legal name is Robert Van Winkle, was booked for investigation of brandishing a weapon and released on his own recognizance after the 2:15 a.m. incident, said Lt. Michael Ranshaw.

The case was referred to the city attorney’s office for possible prosecution. Brandishing a firearm is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail or an unspecified fine.

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Vanilla Ice was unavailable for comment and his publicist, Elaine Shock, declined to discuss the matter.

The rapper, who gained stardom and controversy as a white performer in a predominantly black music form, crossed over to pop charts with the No. 1 hit single “Ice Ice Baby” and his “To the Extreme” album.

He has been dogged by claims that he invented his street-wise persona.

The rapper was sitting in a car with three men outside a Ralph’s supermarket when a man approached and offered to sell a piece of jewelry, Ranshaw said.

The man told police that Vanilla Ice took out a pistol and ordered him to leave the area.

The man, whose name was withheld, ran to a telephone and called police, saying he believed the men in the car were about to rob the store.

A 9-millimeter pistol found in Vanilla Ice’s vehicle was confiscated, as was another handgun taken from one of his companions, Aaron Martin, said Ranshaw.

Martin was arrested for investigation of carrying a concealed weapon.

The two other men were released.

The city attorney has 10 days to decide whether to file charges.

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