News Segment


January 12, 2004

NAPLES, Fla. – The sheriff investigating the arrest of Rush lead guitarist Alex Lifeson is telling fans of the rock band to let him complete his probe.

Don Hunter, a sheriff in Collier County, Fla., wrote a commentary in the Naples Daily News about Lifeson’s arrest New Year’s Eve at the Naples Ritz-Carlton hotel. Lifeson, whose real name is Alex Zivojinovich, was arrested for what police described as drunken, violent behavior.

Charges against Lifeson include aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence and disorderly intoxication. He faces a total of six charges, including four felonies, the most serious of which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Hunter said some of Lifeson’s fans have spoken in his behalf and have attacked his agency, the deputies, the hotel, the city and the community.

“None of the fans appear to have been present as witnesses,” Hunter wrote in the newspaper.

Hunter said he’s reviewing reports of the incident and warns against premature statements about the case. He said hotel staff was asked to remove Lifeson’s 33-year-old son, Justin Zivojinovich, from a stage where a house band was performing because he wouldn’t leave after a warning.

He said Lifeson’s son challenged people at the party to protest his ejection, which escalated the situation. Justin Zivojinovich and his wife Michelle, 30, were also arrested.

He also said Lifeson, 50, is alleged to have ripped a radio from a deputy’s uniform and threw a female deputy backward down a set of stairs. Deputies report Lifeson “purposefully spat blood onto a deputy,” Hunter added. Justin Zivojinovich disputed that account and said deputies broke his father’s nose.

Lifeson, freed from jail Jan. 2 on $14,500 bond, could not be reached for comment on the article. Arraignment is set for Jan. 26.

Rush is a Canadian-based trio that includes drummer Neil Peart and bassist-singer Geddy Lee. The band, whose songs include “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight” and “The Spirit of Radio,” is scheduled to tour this year to mark their 30th anniversary.

Courtesy of Associated Press