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Son of 'Barney' co-creator arrested on attempted murder charge

January 17, 2013 | 12:54 pm

"Barney and Friends"

The son of a co-creator of the long-running PBS children's show "Barney and Friends" has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder for shooting a neighbor in the chest during a dispute, L.A. County sheriff's officials said Thursday.

Patrick Leach, 27, of Malibu was booked on suspicion of attempted murder after he shot the unidentified neighbor in the chest with a large-caliber handgun Jan. 9, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

He was later released in lieu of $1-million bail, which was cause for concern among neighbors, Whitmore said.

"We are certainly monitoring the situation," Whitmore said. "We are doing our very best to keep that individual and neighborhood in our sights."

Sheriff's deputies responded about 9:30 a.m. to the 27000 of West Winding Way in Malibu to the reported shooting. Leach allegedly fled in a vehicle and was arrested shortly before 10 a.m. on Kanan Road, about a mile south of the 101 Freeway, Whitmore said.

The victim, who was not identified, was shot in the chest and the round exited his shoulder, Whitmore said. He was taken in critical condition to a nearby hospital and was expected to recover.

"He is lucky to be alive but he is going to make it," Whitmore said.

Whitmore did not detail the nature of the ongoing dispute between Leach and his neighbor nor could he say how long the two had been arguing.

Leach is the son of Sheryl Leach, one of the co-creators of the long-running PBS show "Barney and Friends" about a purple dinosaur who loves children and leads them in play and song.

In one of the best known songs, Barney sings, "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you, won't you say you love me too!"

Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives are expected to present the case to Los Angeles County prosecutors soon, Whitmore said, noting that the investigation "is ongoing."

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--Andrew Blankstein

Photo: The purple dinosaur Barney dances with his friends in 1996. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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