Police: Man beat pregnant girlfriend in Brookfield Zoo lion house

(RIVERSIDE) A west suburban man is facing domestic battery charges after he punched his pregnant girlfriend in the face while she was holding a child Saturday afternoon at Brookfield Zoo, according to police.

Patrick O’Meara, 28, of Oak Park is charged with two counts of domestic battery and one count of endangering the life of a child, according to a statement from Riverside police.

O’Meara started arguing with his girlfriend inside the zoo’s lion house about a missing hat for her 11-month-old child about 3:45 p.m., police said. The argument escalated into a physical fight, and O’Meara punched his girlfriend in the face while she was holding the child.

She tried to run away, and he grabbed a stroller and pushed it into her, causing her to fall while she held the baby, police said. He then ran after her, wrapped his hand in a baby blanket and punched her several times, police said. Zoo police called 911 and officers arrested O’Meara.

On the way to the police station, O’Meara became violent, and struck his head and face against the squad car windows and divider, police said.

Paramedics were called to the station to treat the girlfriend and her child, but she declined to be transported to a hospital and refused to cooperate with investigators, police said. She is five-months pregnant.

O’Meara gave both a verbal and written statement admitting he attacked his girlfriend, police said.

“In Mr. O’Meara’s statement he told responding officers that he put the baby blanket around his fist in order to lessen the blows to his girlfriend so she would not be severely injured. This statement in itself is completely irrational,” Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said in the statement.

Court information for O’Meara, of the 700 block of Wenonah in Oak Park, was not immediately available.

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