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Tyson attacks cameraman at Vancouver hotel

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- World heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson attacked a television cameraman Wednesday night in the hotel where his estranged wife, Robin Givens, is filming a movie, witnesses said.

News reporters said Tyson, who flew to Vancouver from Las Vegas where he is training for a fight, threw a photographer's camera 10 feet and knocked a television camera to the floor, kicking three times at the cameraman as he fled down a corridor of the Vancouver Hotel.

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Police said they were aware of the incident and that Tyson would be questioned about it Thursday.

David Woodward, an assistant manager at the hotel, said he didn't know how long Tyson would stay and that the press would be barred from the hotel until Tyson departed.

'Mr. Tyson is upset and has asked people to stay away,' Woodward said.

BC-TV cameraman Mike Timbrell said his $70,000 camera was heavily damaged, and a station spokesman said BC-TV is considering legal action against Tyson.

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'He was trying to grab my camera and stomp on it,' Timbrell said. 'He grabbed it with one hand and twisted the viewfinder off. That is not supposed to come off.'

'I was filming him in the lobby,' Timbrell said. 'He was shouting, 'Get out of here.' We had a tug-of-war. He wanted that camera really badly.'

Timbrell, who is about 80 pounds lighter than the boxer, refused to give up the camera and ran from the hotel.

'The doorman was holding him back because he was trying to come after me,' he said. 'I know he's got a short temper so I did not want to bother him.'

John Armstrong, a reporter for the Vancouver Sun, said he and Sun photographer Mark Van Manen, and Timbrell, caught up with Tyson as the boxer approached the hotel.

'He got off a 4:30 (p.m.) flight from Las Vegas and we were surprised because he had no entourage or luggage,' Armstrong said. 'They wouldn't let us talk to him there, but we caught up with him at the hotel just as he was entering it.'

Armstrong said Givens, who was filming 'The Penthouse,' an ABC television movie, was staying on the 14th floor of the hotel and that Tyson, who has filed for divorce, had flown there to meet her.

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'He was real passive, but kind of confused, bewildered, at first. He asked Timbrell to turn off the camera,' Armstrong said. 'He said, 'You guys are going to make me mad.' I asked him if I could just have a couple of minutes of his time and then we'd be on our way.

'He ignored me and kept walking and kept telling the TV guy to get the lights out of his face,' Armstrong said. 'Then suddenly he went into overdrive and grabbed Mark's camera and threw it 10 feet into the check-in desk.'

Hotel security workers then intervened and ushered the news people toward the front door.

'Tyson seemed to have left, but I turned around and he ran right past me and Mark toward Timbrell, who had been filming the whole thing,' Armstrong said. 'He tore the viewfinder off the camera with his bare hands and then the camera hit the deck. Timbrell turned and ran and Tyson took three kicks at him as he ran, but didn't hit him. He then walked past me with a look that would have killed and went upstairs.'

Van Manen said he suffered a slightly cut lip when his camera was ripped away, but the rest of the damage was to the equipment.

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