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Lawyer: Singer Mario's assault arrest linked to mom's drug addiction

By Alan Duke, CNN
Mario (shown in a 2009 photo) launched his professional singing career in 2002 at age 16.
Mario (shown in a 2009 photo) launched his professional singing career in 2002 at age 16.
  • Mario's lawyer blamed his mother's "irrational behavior"
  • Police said Mario's mother said she feared for her life
  • Broken glass, cracked mirror and busted door were found
  • A 2007 MTV documentary explored Mario's struggles with his mother

(CNN) -- The arrest of R&B singer Mario for allegedly assaulting his mother was "an unfortunate incident between a loving son and a mother who continues to struggle with a devastating addiction," his lawyer said Saturday.

Mario, 24, was charged with second degree assault after police were called to a Baltimore, Maryland high-rise apartment complex with a report of "a mental case breaking up property inside" an apartment early Friday.

Shawntia Hardaway, who was waiting in theground-floor lobby, told authorities that her 24-year-old son was in the apartment "throwing and damaging property," the police report said.

"Anyone who has waged the battle to save loved ones from the forces of drugs knows the irrational behavior that almost always accompanies their actions," said Hassan Murphy, Mario's Baltimore attorney, on Saturday. "Despite the allegations, Mario remains committed to supporting his mother."

On Friday, Hardaway said her son "started yelling at her and he used his hands and forearms and pushed her in the chest and shoulder area causing minor pain and discomfort," according to police.

Police found a "severely damaged" china cabinet, a broken mirror, a busted door and "a lot of glass lying on the floor" when they entered the apartment, the report said.

After his mother told police she feared for her life, they arrested Mario and booked him on a second degree assault charge, police said.

Mario's troubled relationship with his mother was the subject of an award-winning TV documentary in 2007. "I Won't Love You to Death: The Story of Mario and His Mom" documented his struggle to help his heroin-addicted mother.

His full name is Mario Barrett, but he does not use his surname professionally.

He professional singing career began when he was 16 with the 2002 hit "Just a Friend."

A Baltimore police spokeswoman was unable to confirm if Mario had posted bail.

CNN's Brittany Kaplan and Denise Quan contributed to this report.