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Daily Pilot

Man charged in beach gunfire had weapons taken away in June

By Jeremiah Dobruck

5:48 PM PDT, July 15, 2014

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Police say they confiscated firearms from a Newport Beach man weeks before he discharged a handgun at the beach, prompting officers to return fire and wound him Friday night.

Newport Beach police rushed to Scott Jay Abraham's beachside condo around 9:45 p.m. last week after witnesses said he started firing a .45 caliber handgun into the air over the sand and water.

When officers arrived in the 4600 block of Seashore Drive, they saw Abraham shoot at least one round from his patio, at which point police fired back, according to Newport Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella.

Manzella, citing the ongoing investigation, declined to say how Abraham acquired a gun after he'd been stripped of his weapons a month earlier.

Newport Beach police detained Abraham on June 9 on what is known as a 5150, named for the California penal code that allows authorities to hold someone for up to 72 hours for a psychiatric assessment if it's believed that he or she could present a danger.

"A call came in to us from friends who were concerned about Mr. Abraham, and we responded to his residence to check on him, and that's how the entire thing began," Manzella said.

Friends and neighbors said Abraham had recently started acting erratically, banging on neighbors' doors and bursting into fits — sometimes clad only in his underwear.

"I knew there was a lot of ammunition and guns in that house," said one man, who asked not to be identified but explained that his family has known the Abrahams for years.

A 5150 hold includes a five-year ban on possession of firearms, and Manzella confirmed officers seized an unspecified number of guns from Abraham's condo when they detained him.

"Those firearms have not been returned to his possession," she said.

Nevertheless, police say they recovered a gun from the scene after shooting Abraham, who was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana in critical condition Friday. He was later upgraded to stable.

Tuesday, the Orange County district attorney's office announced three felony charges against Abraham: two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a peace officer and one felony count of discharging a firearm with gross negligence.

If convicted, Abraham could face up to 12 years in prison.