By Dan Moffett
Ocean Ridge Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella is facing possible felony charges following a Saturday night shooting incident at his oceanfront home that left him in handcuffs and bloodied from a scuffle with police officers.
Police say alcohol played a role in the incident on Beachway North, and Lucibella’s neighbors said they heard about five shots. Police Chief Hal Hutchins said his officers responded to a call at 9:13 p.m. reporting gunshots fired near 5700 Old Ocean Blvd.
“Initial investigation led the officers to the rear of 5 Beachway North,” Hutchins said in a statement, “where officers encountered persons in the rear yard of the residence and observed evidence of spent bullet shell casings.”
Hutchins said further investigation “resulted in the discovery of a Glock 40 caliber pistol with a partially loaded magazine.”
Officers arrested Lucibella, and he was booked into Palm Beach County Jail early Sunday morning on charges of resisting an officer with violence, firing a weapon in a residential area, and use of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol.
This isn’t Lucibella’s first run-in with the town’s Police Department. In 2014, he got into a heated dispute with then-Chief Chris Yannuzzi that ultimately forced his resignation the next year.
The clash began when Lucibella found a stolen credit card on his patio deck. The two men argued over whether Lucibella was required to turn the card over to police. After Yannuzzi recorded a telephone conversation with Lucibella without his knowledge, town commissioners decided to force the chief out of the job and replace him with Hutchins.
Lucibella, 63, first won election to the commission in 2014, and commissioners unanimously approved his appointment as vice mayor in April. He has been an outspoken advocate for greater security on the town’s beaches, claiming the town hadn’t done enough to keep non-residents from creating problems along the oceanfront.