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    Tom Cruise Banishes "Threatening" Fan

    Tom Cruise, Van Tassel Lisa Mauceri/INFphoto.com

    Don't mess with the Top Gunner.

    Tom Cruise has obtained a restraining order against a military veteran facing a weapons rap who repeatedly showed up uninvited to Cruise's Beverly Hills home to try and hand deliver a letter to the star.

    Darryl Perlin, senior deputy district attorney for Santa Barbara County, tells E! News the order issued Wednesday bars 28-year-old Edward Van Tassel from having any contact or communications with the 46-year-old Cruise. It also forbids Van Tassel from coming anywhere near the actor's Beverly Hills estate.

    "He's definitely a threat. He's a celebrity stalker," said Perlin.

    It was on Dec. 3 when Van Tassel first showed up at Cruise's home, trying to get in contact with the star. He was turned away, only to come back hours later.

    Four days later, just after 5 a.m., Van Tassel showed up again, prompting a security guard to call the cops.

    Officers allege that Van Tassel initially resisted their orders. Once he submitted to arrest, per the incident report, the police found a notebook with a letter addressed to Cruise explaining how his movies helped get Van Tassel through his tour of duty.

    "Tom Cruise was a very influential person in his life and...his films helped him cope with the war in Iraq," the report states.

    Before winding up at Cruise's home, Van Tassel had been facing charges for two previous incidents.

    First, in a misguided Halloween stunt, he turned up at a Santa Barbara radio station wearing fatigues and a mask, and packing a gun. Three days later, he took over a freeway overpass in an effort to protest the Iraq war, causing a traffic jam.

    During Wednesday's hearing, Superior Court Judge George Eskin said he regretted listening to Van Tassel's attorney and sending the man to a Los Angeles-area V.A. hospital after he pleaded not guilty to the radio station incident.

    "I did not envision a situation that would enable him to come and go as he pleased," the judge said. He also expressed surprise that the vet's sister drove him from the facility to Cruise's house.

    "The V.A. let him down, the family let him down and we let him down," the judge added. "Well, I did."

    Van Tassel's attorney, Robert Landheer, said his client is not a stalker and the letter is hardly sinister.

    "He is not there to stalk Mr. Cruise as some sort of fan-obsessed person," the lawyer said. "He wants to enlist him in his mission to get appropriate remedies for soldiers of the Iraq war."

    Van Tassel remains free on bail. He faces charges of conspiring to exhibit a firearm in the presence of an officer, resisting an officer, delaying or obstructing police, having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, illegally possessing a martial-arts weapon (i.e., nunchucks) and wearing a mask to commit a crime.

    There was no immediate comment from the Cruise camp.

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