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Tyson was defending daughter, wife during LAX altercation with paparazzo, spokeswoman says [Updated]

November 12, 2009 |  6:28 am

Mike Tyson arrested (KTLA News)

Mike Tyson was defending his wife and 10-month-old child from an aggressive photographer when the former boxer got into an altercation at LAX on Wednesday, his spokeswoman said.

Tyson and the photographer were arrested on suspicion of battery, and police said they were interviewing witnesses to determine what happened.

Tyson, 43, told investigators that the photographer struck him in an apparent attempt to provoke him, according to a police source who asked not to be named because the matter involved an open investigation.

The photographer told investigators that Tyson punched him in the face and tried to take his camera, the source told The Times.

"Mike acted in self-defense as a father protecting his child," said Tyson's spokeswoman Tammy Brook.

A fellow paparazzo interviewed by KABC-TV Channel 7 said the photographer regularly photographed celebrities at LAX but said the man would not provoke a physical altercation.

[Updated at 8:50 a.m.: The photographer, Tony Echeverria, told infdaily.com that he got a tip that Tyson and his family were arriving at LAX on Wednesday. He found Tyson and followed him for several minutes around the airport, at one point exchanging words. Tyson eventually hit him four times, Echeverria said.]

The incident occurred at Terminal 7 in front of numerous witnesses at about 4:30 p.m., according to Los Angeles Airport Police. The photographer suffered a minor cut to his forehead. Witnesses said there was blood on the floor of the terminal.

Both men wanted to press charges of battery against each other, said Sgt. Jim Holcomb of the airport police.

 “There’s a lot of different versions to the story,” Holcomb said.

Tyson was initially held in the airport station’s lockup, but he was later transferred to the LAPD’s 77th Street Station, where he was booked and released on his own recognizance at 8:10 p.m.

“He was very cooperative,” said LAPD Lt. Aaron McCraney. “There were no issues.”

Today's episode was the latest clash between celebrities and paparazzi at LAX.

On Sept. 12, 2008, rapper Kanye West was arrested on suspicion of vandalism, and his road manager, Don Crowley, was arrested on suspicion of vandalism and battery, after they reportedly confronted a photographer and smashed his camera.

An L.A. court commissioner dismissed all charges against both men last month.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: KTLA

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