Man brandishes handgun at protester in Newport Beach

Hundreds protest racism and police brutality in a march along Balboa Boulevard in Newport Beach on Wednesday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

After a man was caught on video brandishing a handgun at a demonstrator during a protest in Newport Beach on Wednesday afternoon, police are looking for additional victims.

Video circulating on social media shows a shirtless man pulling a handgun out of a backpack and pointing it in the air near 30th Street and Newport Boulevard shortly before 3:30 p.m. The man had been involved in a verbal dispute with a demonstrator when he brandished the firearm, Newport Beach Police spokeswoman Heather Rangel said.

The video shows the demonstrator, who is black, crouching behind a parked car after the man, who is white, pulls out the gun. The man with the gun fled before police arrived, authorities said.


Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Rick Henry at (949) 644-3797.

The incident occurred during a peaceful protest on the Balboa Peninsula, where hundreds gathered in response to the death of George Floyd, who died last week after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him down by his neck for more than eight minutes.

The afternoon protest started at the base of the Newport Pier with a handful of people silently holding signs. Eventually, the crowd size approached at least 500. Many were young white people who exhorted others to use their privilege to dismantle systemic racism.

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After about an hour, the crowd headed past the Dory Fishing Fleet, the sunbathers on their folding chairs in the sand, Mutt Lynch’s bar and a souvenir shop with mermaid statues in the window. They walked down the boardwalk for several streets before turning back on Balboa Boulevard to 32nd Street, then returned, walking to the end of the peninsula before circling back.

During a later stretch of the march, a driver in a white Mini Cooper sped down Balboa Boulevard through a crowd of protesters.

The scene was captured on video by a television news crew in the area. Protesters quickly moved out of the way as the driver maneuvered through the crowd.


The driver, Don Wallace, a resident of Newport Beach, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Rangel said.

Times Community News staff writers Hillary Davis and Andrew Turner contributed to this report.