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Police Arrest Man Identified as Hugh O’Connor’s Drug Dealer

March 30, 1995 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Hours after Carroll O’Connor’s drug-addicted son committed suicide, police arrested a man the actor said was his son’s drug dealer.

Harry Thomas Perzigian was booked for investigation of cocaine possession Wednesday, the day after Hugh Edward O’Connor shot himself to death. The booking charge was changed to possession for sale after police seized what appeared to be more than an ounce of cocaine, along with drug paraphernalia and $1,700 cash, police said.

``We located some cocaine in a toilet that apparently was attempted to be flushed by him,″ Lt. Bernie Larralde said.

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Perzigian, 39, posted $15,000 bail Wednesday afternoon. Perzigian, who faces an April 19 arraignment, could not be reached for comment because there is no telephone listing for him.

O’Connor, 32, who appeared on his father’s TV show ``In The Heat of the Night,″ killed himself with a gunshot to the head Tuesday night. Afterward, his father tearfully told reporters that Perzigian supplied drugs to his adopted son, his only child.

``These dealers, they kill people,″ O’Connor said outside his son’s home in Pacific Palisades. ``They make a living giving people the means to kill themselves. Harry, I want to see you someday.″

The 71-year-old actor best known for playing Archie Bunker in ``All In The Family″ had called police earlier Tuesday, saying his son was despondent and had access to guns.

A crisis negotiator and special weapons team were dispatched to the son’s home, but the younger O’Connor told them to go away and he shot himself. Police said they found a suicide note.

Hugh O’Connor’s death came on his third wedding anniversary. Besides his father, he is survived by his wife, Angela Clayton; their 2-year-old son, Sean; and his mother, O’Connor’s wife, Nancy.

Hugh O’Connor, who was adopted, had a 16-year history of drug abuse. He had enrolled in three drug rehabilitation programs over the years ``and could not face going into another one for perhaps six months or a year,″ his father said.

The elder O’Connor said he wondered whether it wouldn’t be better to legalize drugs. ``It’s not going to create more addicts,″ he said. ``It’s just going to put the crooks and criminals and killers out of business.″

Hugh O’Connor played Lt. Lonnie Jamison on the CBS series ``In the Heat of the Night,″ which stars his father as a Mississippi sheriff.

A funeral was scheduled in Los Angeles on Saturday, but the rites will be private.