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San Diego Chargers star Shawne Merriman arrested for alleged battery on woman [Updated]

September 6, 2009 | 11:35 am

Lanow.merriman San Diego Chargers star linebacker Shawne Merriman was arrested early today on suspicion of battery and false imprisonment after a girlfriend told sheriff's deputies he had choked and restrained her.

Deputies responded to a call at 3:45 a.m. from Tila Nguyen, also known as Tila Tequila. The 27-year-old model and reality TV star said Merriman had assaulted her when she tried to leave his home in Poway, a suburb north of San Diego. Nguyen was taken to the hospital.

Merriman was arrested after Nguyen said she would sign a complaint. He was being held in the downtown San Diego jail in lieu of $58,000 bail.

Nguyen, a Singapore-born American, has appeared in magazines and as the star of her own show "A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila," which ran for two seasons.

The 25-year-old Merriman, 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, was suspended for four games in 2006 after he tested positive for a banned substance. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, he missed most of the 2008 season with an injury.

He played in Friday's 26-7 exhibition victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Nguyen attended the game.

[Updated at 2:30 p.m.: Merriman has been bailed out of jail and Nguyen was released from the hospital Sunday morning. The two had been at a downtown San Diego nightclub until after 1 a.m., authorities said, adding that alcohol was a factor in the incident.

Merriman was cooperative with deputies and did not resist arrest, officials said. Several people were at the home when deputies arrived and have been interviewed.

On the Chargers website, general manager A.J. Smith posted a reaction to the arrest: "It’s disappointing to hear about the issue involving Shawne Merriman. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and let the legal process run its course.”]

[Updated at 5 p.m.: Jan Caldwell, spokeswoman for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, said that when deputies arrived at the Poway home in reponse to the 911 call from Nguyen, they found Nguyen and Merriman in the driveway.

"She was pretty adamant that we was going to sign a citizen's arrest. She also wanted to be taken to the hospital by ambulance," Caldwell said.

Caldwell said that deputies did not see any physical injuries on Nguyen. "That's not to say they weren't there, the deputies just didn't see any."

By procedures, deputies are required to make an arrest when someone signs a citizen's arrest form, as Nguyen did.

After an investigation, all information will be forwarded to Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis, who will decide whether to file criminal charges.

Deputies said that Nguyen had been drinking but were unsure about Merriman. One possibility that investigators are probing is whether Merriman was attempt to keep Nguyen from hurting other people, Caldwell said.]

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images