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Deputies case funeral to nab - oops, wrong guy

Associated Press
Published February 24, 2005

FORT LAUDERDALE - Broward County sheriff's deputies got a tip that a murder suspect on the run for two years would show up at a graveside funeral service.

Watching from nearby at Forest Lawn Cemetery on Saturday, undercover deputies compared a mug shot of the suspect with the faces of those at the service. They picked out their prey.

As the service for Brenda Lightbourn, 65, was ending, at least 10 deputies rushed in and pounced on Donovan Lightbourn, 20, a grandson of the deceased. They slammed him against a car and handcuffed him, witnesses said.

They had the wrong man.

Deputies were looking for Kareem Lightbourne, 26, of Lauderhill, wanted in a December 2002 fatal shooting and kidnapping.

Relatives were upset at the disruption. "Just out of respect they should've done it in a different manner," said Brenda Lightbourn's husband, Franklyn, a visitor from the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Witnesses said several deputies drew guns on relatives who tried to intervene, and one threatened Donovan with a Taser stun gun before they realized their mistake.

Sheriff's spokesman Hugh Graf acknowledged that some investigators had their weapons drawn, but he said they didn't point them at anyone. He said one deputy had a Taser that he kept to his side.

He said deputies tried to wait for a moment when Lightbourn was alone to arrest him.

Kareem Lightbourne is 5 feet 7, weighs about 170 pounds and has a short haircut, according to a 2002 sheriff's press release.

Donovan Lightbourn, a former Navy seaman who came to the funeral from Orlando, is 6 feet tall, weighs 230 pounds and wears dreadlocks. He said he doesn't know Kareem Lightbourne.

Information from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel was used in this report.

[Last modified February 24, 2005, 00:53:06]

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