Pinecrest

Bizarre end for a bodyguard-to-the-stars

 
WEB VOTE Two people in four weeks have died after being Tasered by police in Miami-Dade County. Should Tasers be banned?

jbrown@MiamiHerald.com

Three years ago, at a Jay Z concert in Washington, D.C., a man dared to jump the stage and saunter toward the rapper. The unruly crasher was caught on video being grabbed by a well-dressed bodyguard, who tossed the intruder about 10 feet off stage, breaking both his legs.

At about six-foot-five and weighing roughly 280 pounds, Norman Oosterbroek wasn’t just a bodyguard to Jay Z, Lady Gaga and some of the world’s most famous celebrities. He was a powerful force to be reckoned with.

So when Pinecrest police found him stark naked Monday night, allegedly pounding a neighbor with one hand while gobbling suspected drugs, they Tasered him. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Baptist Hospital.

Oosterbroek, also known in Europe as “The Dutch Giant,” was 43. He began his career in South Africa as a bodyguard for Nelson Mandela. He later formed his own international security firm, RAD, which is based in the Netherlands. He opened a branch in New York in 2006, and it quickly grew to become one of the best-known personal-security companies in the world, with a litany of corporate clients and celebrities he considered friends as well as customers.

He was photographed with superstars all over the world, and came to be known as one of the most professional and discreet celebrity confidantes in a business where bodyguards are often asked to sign confidentiality agreements and rarely talk about their clients.

Despite his success, he suffered from drug problems, authorities said, and had been in and out of rehab over the years.

But in 2009, his life seemed to come together when he married his longtime girlfriend, April McDaniel, at a lavish ceremony at New York’s Botanical Garden.

The couple, who have two small children, spent time between New York and South Florida, where they were leasing a $500,000 home in Cutler Estates.

Reached by telephone, his wife declined to comment Wednesday.

Police said that about 10:45 p.m. on Monday, Oosterbroek appeared at the back door of a neighbor’s home just down the street. Christiane Jung looked outside and saw Oosterbroek staring at her, according to police.

She screamed for her husband, Markus, who confronted Oosterbroek, police said. Oosterbroek allegedly began beating Jung with one hand while ingesting suspected narcotics with the other.

“He was highly violent, uncontrollable and obviously wasn’t stable,” said Nancy Perez, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade police, which is investigating the incident.

Toxicology results are pending, but police sources said that Oosterbroek’s elevated body temperature was consistent with someone under the influence of cocaine. A white powdery substance was found on his body, Perez said.

Perez could not say how many times Oosterbroek was struck with the stun guns, or how many officers were involved.

But, she said, it appears Pinecrest officers acted appropriately because, according to witnesses, the suspect was aggressively attacking both the homeowner and police.

It was the second death involving a Taser in Miami-Dade in the past month. The previous one involved a street artist who died after Miami Beach police fired a stun gun that hit him in the chest after he was caught tagging a former McDonald’s restaurant.

In the shady gated community Wednesday, neighbors said the Oosterbroeks had recently moved in and had kept to themselves. The four-bedroom, three-bath home sits among other stately houses on Southwest 132nd Terrace off of Old Cutler Road.

Christiane Jung said she was too distraught to talk about what happened.

“Our family needs time to heal. This was really, really horrible and we can’t talk about it now,” she said. “I can tell you that Pinecrest police took very good care of us. It was horrifying.”

Although Oosterbroek lived a few doors down and across the street, she said, “We really don’t know the man at all.”

On Lady Gaga’s numerous fan pages Wednesday, fans began expressing their condolences.

“Thanks for protecting our beloved Queen! You’ll be missed. Rest In Peace!” said one fan.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

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