'Love Story' actor Ryan O'Neal is accused of assaulting his adult son in Malibu.

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MALIBU, Calif. — Ryan O’Neal says his weekend arrest came after he fired a gun in self-defense to prevent his son from whacking him with a fireplace poker.

The actor told the Los Angeles Times that he arrived at his Malibu home Saturday night with a group of friends, including his former girlfriend Farrah Fawcett. They had been celebrating Fawcett’s 60th birthday and that she is cancer-free after four months of treatment.

O’Neal’s son Griffin, 42, who has a history of alcohol and drug problems, was visiting. O’Neal said Griffin grabbed a fireplace poker, started swinging it and grazed him four or five times.

He “aimed at my head, I ducked, he hit his own girlfriend in the head,” O’Neal, 65, told the newspaper.

“I got a little nervous at that point and fled to my room … and I got my gun,” he said.

O’Neal said his son began to come up the stairs with the poker. “So I just fired it into the banister, and that scared him and he fled,” he said.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested O’Neal for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm. He was released on a $50,000 bond.

Griffin O’Neal’s pregnant girlfriend was slightly injured, treated at a hospital and released, said Neil Hassman, Ryan O’Neal’s manager.

Sheriff’s deputies and Hassman couldn’t provide details on what caused the dispute.

“I’ve spoken to people involved and no one knows why it escalated like that,” Hassman told The Associated Press on Monday. “Ryan feels terrible about what happened.”

Griffin O’Neal could not be reached for comment; there was no listing for his phone number.

He was found guilty of reckless boating in a 1986 accident that killed Gian-Carlo Coppola, the son of director Francis Ford Coppola, and later received an 18-day jail sentence for not performing 400 hours of community service ordered by the judge in that case. He also pleaded no contest to drunken driving in 1989 and was sentenced to probation. In 1992, he pleaded no contest to charges he shot at his estranged girlfriend’s unoccupied car. At the time, he agreed to spend a year in a live-in drug rehab program and serve five years on probation.