Actor Ryan O’Neal has said he fired a warning shot during a brawl with his son, and prosecutors decided Friday they don’t have the ammunition to charge him with a crime.
Witnesses to the Feb. 3 shooting at O’Neal’s home in Malibu, in which no one was injured, gave conflicting accounts to authorities, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office. That left insufficient evidence to prove the case, she said.
“It’s a tremendous relief for Mr. O’Neal to have this resolved favorably in this manner,” said Mark Werksman, Ryan O’Neal’s attorney.
Prosecutors took more than three months to determine whether to charge the 66-year-old actor after his arrest for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm. He was free on $50,000 bond.
O’Neal contended he fired the shot in self-defense after his son, Griffin O’Neal, attacked him with a fireplace poker during an argument.
Ryan O’Neal suffered bruises to his arms and legs when he was struck several times, Werksman claimed.
Griffin O’Neal was not arrested or charged.
“There was no evidence to support that allegation that he, in any way, committed any criminal conduct,” said Griffin O’Neal’s attorney, Gloria Allred.
Allred also represents the younger O’Neal’s girlfriend, Joanna Berry, who suffered an eye injury and needed stitches for a facial cut.
Ryan O’Neal said she was accidentally struck by the poker when his son lashed out at him.
Since the older O’Neal won’t face criminal charges, Griffin O’Neal and his girlfriend “will now explore all of their legal options,” such as a lawsuit, Allred said.
The father and son had clashed before.
Griffin O’Neal also has had several run-ins with the law. He was convicted of reckless boating in a 1986 accident that killed the son of film director Francis Ford Coppola, and later was given an 18-day jail sentence for failing to perform community service ordered in that case.
He also has pleaded no contest in two unrelated cases to drunken driving and shooting at the unoccupied car of an estranged girlfriend.
One of the hottest actors of the 1970s, Ryan O’Neal starred in “Love Story” and “Paper Moon.”