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Prince’s Bodyguards Arrested in Scuffle With Photographers

January 29, 1985 GMT

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) _ Two bodyguards for rock star Prince - one of them 6 feet 9 inches tall - were arrested Tuesday in a scuffle with two photographers who tried to snap photos of the singer outside a Sunset Strip nightclub.

Both men were later released on bail, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies said.

The confrontation occurred several hours after Monday night’s American Music Awards, in which Prince won three awards.

A third bodyguard - the hulking, tattooed Chick Huntsberry - had accompanied Prince onstage during the nationally telecast awards show. He was not arrested.

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A sheriff’s spokesman said the dispute occurred after Prince and his entourage emerged from Carlos’ N Charlie’s on Sunset Boulevard at 2:20 a.m. and were confronted by two photographers.

″Two photographers had staked out the parking lot because they heard Prince was inside,″ said Deputy Stephen Lee.

Six-foot-9-inch Lawrence Gibson, 26, who weighs 300 pounds, seized the shoulders of Mike Guastella, 21, of Granada Hills and demanded that the photographer surrender his camera ″or get hurt,″ said Lee.

Gibson then removed the film from Guastella’s camera, Lee said.

Wallace Safford, 25, a foot and an inch shorter than Gibson, took on New York photographer Vincent Zuffante, who was punched in the right eye, Lee said.

Zuffante made a citizen’s arrest, he said.

Meanwhile, Prince and his party waited inside the restaurant until sheriff’s deputies arrived and arrested Gibson and Safford. The star was questioned briefly by police and left the restaurant accompanied by two other bodyguards, Deputy Bob Stoneman said.

Safford was booked for investigation of misdemeanor battery while Gibson was booked for investigation of robbery in the removal of the film, which was not recovered, Lee said. Gibson was freed on $6,000 bond, Safford on $500 bail.