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Actor Ryan O'Neal is arrested in assault case

February 05, 2007|Stuart Silverstein | Times Staff Writer

Actor Ryan O'Neal was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of assault and a firearm offense after a dispute at his Malibu beachfront home with his 42-year-old son, Griffin, authorities said Sunday.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies, in a brief news release, said they arrested the 65-year-old actor early Saturday after he allegedly assaulted his son in a confrontation at the elder O'Neal's home.

He was booked at the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff's station on assault with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm, and was released at 5:30 a.m. after posting $50,000 bond.

The only person the deputies reported as being hurt was JoAnne Berry, 22, whom they described as a female friend of Griffin O'Neal. Deputies said Berry "inadvertently received minor injuries" during the incident.

The elder O'Neal was nominated for an Oscar for the 1970 movie "Love Story," and he recently had performed on the Fox television investigative drama "Bones."

Reached by telephone Sunday, he said the episode occurred shortly after he arrived home. O'Neal said he had been with a group including his former longtime romantic partner, actress Farrah Fawcett, to celebrate her 60th birthday and the news from her doctor that she was "cancer free" after four months of treatment.

O'Neal said Griffin, who was visiting, picked up a fireplace poker and started swinging it. Griffin grazed him four or five times and "aimed at my head, I ducked, he hit his own girlfriend in the head," O'Neal said.

"She's seven months pregnant," he said. "I got a little nervous at that point and fled to my room ... and I got my gun."

His son "started to come up the stairs again with the poker in his hand. So I just fired it into the banister, and that scared him and he fled," said O'Neal, describing his actions as self-defense.

Neither Griffin O'Neal nor Berry could be reached for comment.

The O'Neals have clashed before. In 1983, police were called to their home after a fight in which the elder O'Neal knocked out two of Griffin's teeth. No charges were filed.

Griffin O'Neal was found guilty of reckless boating in 1987 for his part in the death of Gian-Carlo Coppola, son of film director Francis Ford Coppola, the year before. He pleaded no contest to a drunk driving charge in 1989 and no contest in 1992 to charges that he shot at his estranged girlfriend's unoccupied car.

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