In the 1980s, he was the snarky kid Richie Green who coined the name "Bruce Leroy" for Taimak in the groundbreaking film The Last Dragon. These days, he's a successful small businessman — running a small music studio, owning both a Harlem convenience store and a business selling magazines door-to-door — after struggling with a criminal record and some jail time
Leo O'Brien, who played Richie Green in the 1985 martial-arts musical, was blasted in the stomach and arm after a bizarre argument on Monday.
"I'm feeling better than I was a couple of days ago," O'Brien, 40, told the Daily News Wednesday from his bed at Harlem Hospital.
"I was in intensive care but just for one day. I'm a fast healer — kind of a mutant … I've been told if this had happened to someone else, they'd be dead."
The shooting happened on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and W. 127th St. Police arrested Travis Breckenridge, 50, and charged him with attempted murder and gun possession.
A police source said the two men were arguing about a chair. Breckenridge was in the chair and got up, then O'Brien sat down. The accused gunman wanted the chair back, but was already out of patience.
"It's about f—— time," he said to O'Brien, according to the police source. "Then he pulls out a gun and shoots him."
O'Brien felt a stinging sensation in his abdomen and asked his pal: "You got a BB gun?"
"The second bullet hit me in the stomach," he said. "I knew then it was a real gun … The third bullet hit me in the arm.
"He didn't say anything to me. He started crying and ran away. He was my homeboy. Did we have a problem before he shot me? No. I don't know why he shot me. He was scared. Maybe he thought I would hurt him?"
Taimak Guariello, who played O'Brien's big brother Bruce Leroy in the Berry Gordy-produced film, posted on Twitter about the shooting.
"I haven't seen him in about 15 years," he said Wednesday, adding that he hasn't kept in touch with his ex-castmates. "I don't hear from anybody until they're almost dead."
O'Brien — who lives in New Jersey and is the brother of Master Gee from the iconic hip-hop group Sugar Hill Gang — said he was instantly recognized at the hospital.
"Of course — that's a classic," he said of The Last Dragon.
"If you black and you ain't ever saw that, there's something wrong."
A troubling tale of pettiness and violence, but the former child actor seems to be working his way through these troubles with dignity. Aside from that hair — what's up with that?
[Source: New York Daily News]