Rapper Vanilla Ice arrested with gun

LOS ANGELES -- Rapper Vanilla Ice was arrested early Monday when a man reported to police that the singer had pulled a gun on him in a Studio City parking lot, authorities said.

Robert Van Winkle, 23, who goes by the stage name Vanilla Ice, was arrested at 2:15 a.m. after the man, whose name was not released, called police to report a robbery in progress at a Ralph's Market, Lt. Michael Ranshaw said.


The man had approached the entertainer in the parking lot and tried to sell him a necklace, Ranshaw said.

The man said he was threatened with a gun, and ran and called police.

'When the officers arrived, they detained four men who matched the description given,' Ranshaw said. 'One of those men wasRobert Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice. The other three men were identified as employees of Mr. Van Winkle.'

An investigation determined that no robbery had occurred, he said.

'During the investigation, Mr. Van Winkle was placed under private person's arrest for brandishing a firearm by a North Hollywood resident whose identity is not being released at this time,' Ranshaw said.


Aaron Eric Martin, 22, of Studio City, who was identified as an employee of Van Winkle's, also was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon.

Two handguns were recovered by police.

Van Winkle, also of Studio City, and Martin were booked at the North Hollywood jail on the misdemeanor allegations and released on their own recognizance.

The two other men, whose names were withheld, were questioned at the scene and released.

Ranshaw said the case would be presented to the City Attorney's Office for review and possible charges.

Van Winkle served a year's probation for a 1988 assault conviction in the Dallas area and paid a $516.50 fine. Police said Van Winkle sprayed mace into the eyes of a teenager and then beat him over the head and chased him and another boy across a grocery store parking lot.

'Although we don't agree with the charges, we went ahead and paid the fine for expediency's sake,' said his attorney, Larry Friedman.

Vanilla Ice has been compared to Elvis Presley since he is white and became a success with white teenagers in a black musical form. Many critics and black rappers, however, dismiss him as a lightweight poseur who stole their style and became a hit merely because he made rap palatable to whites.


His single 'Ice Ice Baby,' a cut from his platinum first album, 'To the Extreme,' became the first rap song to reach No. 1 on the record charts.

The Vanilla Ice biography put out by his publicist came under close scrutiny by the media and turned out to be inflated. Van Winkle had portrayed himself as a street-wise veteran of Miami gang fights but in truth he had spent most of his high school years in Carrolltown, a predominantly white suburb of Dallas. Claims that he was a national motorcross cycling champion proved to be untrue.

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