Griffin O’Neal’s pregnant girlfriend frantically told a 911 operator she had been hit and was in pain the night Ryan O’Neal was arrested on assault and firearms charges, newly released tapes reveal.
In recordings released Monday by the Sheriff’s Department and obtained by the Associated Press, JoAnne Berry, 22, can be heard telling a female operator: “I got hit by something. I can’t see. Help me! Help me! I’m in a lot of pain. … I need an ambulance.”
(The tapes can also be heard on TMZ.com.)
Sheriff’s deputies and paramedics arrested the elder O’Neal, 65, and booked him at the Malibu-Lost Hills sheriff’s station on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm. He was released at 5:30 a.m. Saturday after posting $50,000 bond.
The actor’s manager, Neil Hassman, released a statement Monday, claiming that O’Neal was defending himself after his son began “wildly swinging a fireplace poker.”
Griffin grazed him four or five times and “aimed at my head, I ducked, he hit his own girlfriend in the head,” O’Neal told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Monday.
According to Hassman, Berry – known to the family as JoJo – was slightly injured during the incident. He said her injuries were caused by the younger O’Neal and that she was treated at a hospital and released.
It is unclear what started the fight, but contradictory explanations have been put forth.
Charlie Mattera, a close friend of O’Neal, has said that O’Neal told him he was defending his younger son, Redmond, 22. “Griffin attacked his brother, Redmond, smashing an ashtray over his head,” Mattera told the AP. “Ryan walked into this and told Griffin to get out of the house. He couldn’t do anything but protect himself and Redmond.”
But O’Neal’s 43-year-old daughter, Tatum, who was not present during the drama, told Entertainment Tonight: “My heart goes out to Redmond, Griffin and JoJo. Redmond has been going through a hard time and we have all been trying to help him. No matter what my dad is saying in the press, Griffin was not trying to start a fight with him; he was attempting to protect Redmond. I’m sure when the police sort out the facts, the truth will be revealed.”