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Times Staff Writer

Two bodyguards of rock star Prince--one of them 6-foot-9 and 300 pounds--were arrested early Tuesday after allegedly attacking two photographers who were trying to take pictures of the musician after his appearance at the American Music Awards ceremony, deputies said.

Mike Guastella, 21, of Granada Hills, and Vincent Zuffante, 28, of New York, began taking pictures of Prince as he emerged from Carlos and Charlie’s, a West Hollywood restaurant on Sunset Boulevard about 2:20 a.m.

Lawrence Gibson, the larger bodyguard, grabbed Guastella by the shoulders and demanded that he turn over the camera or get hurt, said Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Stoneman. Gibson then allegedly tore the film out of the camera. The other guard, Wallace Safford, 25, punched Zuffante in the eye, Stoneman said. During the scuffle, Prince went back into the restaurant.


Gibson, 26, who was booked on suspicion of strong-arm robbery, was released after posting $6,000 bail at the West Hollywood sheriff’s station. Zuffante filed a citizen’s complaint against Safford, charging him with battery. The bodyguard was released after posting $500 bail.

The confrontation occurred several hours after the diminutive 26-year-old star accepted three awards at the Shrine Auditorium. A spokeswoman for Prince’s management firm declined to comment on the incident.