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Former Navy SEAL who said he killed Osama bin Laden arrested in Frisco

Frisco police said Robert J. O’Neill, 47, faces misdemeanor charges of assault and public intoxication.

Robert O'Neill
Robert O’Neill, U.S. Navy SEAL, speaks at an awards ceremony in Maryville, Tenn., in 2014.(Bloomberg)

By Isabella Volmert

A former Navy SEAL who has said he fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden was arrested this week in Frisco.

Robert J. O’Neill, 47, was booked into jail Wednesday, according to Collin County records, and released on $3,500 bond the same day. O’Neill did not respond to requests for comment, and it was not clear whether he had an attorney.

In a written statement, Frisco police said O’Neill faces a Class A misdemeanor charge of assault causing bodily injury and a Class C misdemeanor charge of public intoxication. Jail records list only the assault charge.

Frisco police declined to release more information Friday about the arrest.


Social-media posts show that O’Neill, listed as a Tennessee resident in jail records, was in Frisco on Tuesday to record a podcast at a cigar lounge.

O’Neill, originally from Montana, first said in 2014 that he fired the shots that killed bin Laden in 2011. The U.S. government has neither confirmed nor denied the account.

The former SEAL Team 6 member, who has received two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars and a Joint Service Commendation Medal, wrote a memoir, The Operator,about his military service.

He made headlines in 2020 when Delta Air Lines banned him after he reportedly removed his face mask on a flight at a time when passengers were required to wear one to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In 2016, prosecutors in Montana dropped a DUI charge against O’Neill. Both sides stipulated that the charge stemmed from prescription medication he used to treat a condition connected to his military service, the Montana Standard reported.


This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas ’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

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