The son of Barney Friends creator Sheryl Leach has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting a 49-year-old man in the chest in Malibu last month. The Barney creator’s son, Patrick Leach, fled the scene, but police said they were able to find evidence connecting him to the shooting.
The victim, Eric Shanks, was found with a gunshot wound in Malibu’s exclusive West Winding Way on January 9, the Daily Mail reported.
Neighbors in the area said they heard arguing followed by a gunshot, The Malibu Times reported.
“I think it was just a brewing dispute thing that got out of hand,” the neighbor said.
Police believe the Barney creator’s son left the scene in a black SUV. He was later arrested.
Leach was also arraigned on assault charges, TMZ reported.
Sheryl Leach has said in the past that Patrick was the inspiration for the Barney series. Sheryl said she took Patrick to a museum when he was young, and the boy was fascinated with a dinosaur exhibit there.
“When my son Patrick was a toddler I was always looking for ways to entertain him and keep him busy. I felt that if the storylines worked with my son, they would work with all children — Patrick was an excellent focus group of one!,” the Barney creator told You’ve GOT to Read This Book, which collected stories about how authors were inspired.
Aside from being the inspiration for the Barney series, Patrick Leach also served as co-author with his mother on a book related to the series, Barney’s Book of Hugs, published in 1997.
Barney and Friends has become an international sensation, spurring a number of videos and toys and earning millions of dollars for Sheryl Leach, a former school teacher from Texas.
The victim in the case is expected to recover from his wounds, and the Barney creator’s son is free on $1 million bail.