Reports confirm that the son of Sheryl Leach, creator of the beloved children's show "Barney the Dinosaur and Friends," has been charged with attempted murder in Malibu, CA. Patrick Leach, 27, allegedly shot his 49-year-old neighbor Eric Shanks right in the chest during a property dispute back in January. While the victim is expected to fully recover from his wounds, police eventually found evidence at the scene that connects young Leach to the shootings. Leach is currently free on a $1 million bail.
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TMZ and the Malibu Times initially reported that Leach was arrested in Agoura Hills, California on Jan. 9 after neighbors heard aggressive arguing and then gunshots coming from Malibu's exclusive West Winding Way. Once police arrived, Leach had already fled the scene in a black SUV. He was eventually found at Kanan and Cornell roads in Agoura Hills and arrested.
One eye-witness neighbor told the Malibu Times at the time of the incident, "I think it was just a brewing dispute thing that got out of hand."
Lieutenant Matthew Squire told the Times that Leach was arrested without any trouble:
"Our deputies did a fantastic job apprehending this dangerous suspect. There was no vehicular pursuit and the suspect exhibited no threatening behavior while being taken into custody... He comes from big money, so he was able to post that kind of bail the same day he was arrested... [Shanks is] one very lucky guy. It looks like he'll be OK. He's a blessed man."
Now, a rep for the L.A. County D.A. office reveals to TMZ that Leach was arraigned on Tuesday, Feb. 5 for attempted murder. Leach was let go on a $1 million following his arrest. There's still no motive available for the shooting.
Sheryl Leach's immensely popular "Barney and Friends" children's television show on PBS was somewhat inspired by her own son. According to the 60-year-old former school teacher, the friendly purple dinosaur was inspired by Patrick's captivation by a dinosaur exhibit in a museum as a young boy:
"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!" Leach told "You've GOT to Read This Book" (a collection of stories about how authors were inspired).