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Newport Beach man suspected of threatening group with gun at local protest

Travis Patrick White, right, pulls out a handgun from his backpack and holds it up Wednesday in Newport Beach.
Travis Patrick White, right, pulls out a gun from his backpack and holds it up as a handful of demonstrators back off in Newport Beach on Wednesday. White was arrested Thursday by the Newport Beach Police Department on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threat.
(Courtesy of Lance Roberts)

A Newport Beach man has been arrested after allegedly pulling a gun on protesters Wednesday on the Balboa Peninsula.

A video clip circulating on social media shows a shirtless man later identified as Travis Patrick White in a verbal altercation with a protester on the sidewalk at the corner of 30th Street and Newport Boulevard just before 3:30 p.m. The suspect then pulled a black handgun from his backpack and held it aloft as a handful of demonstrators backed off and one took cover behind a parked car. The armed man backed away.

“We’ve got him pulling out a gun,” the man behind the camera narrated from a car alongside the skirmish. “He’s got a gun. He’s got a gun.”

Newport Beach police credited media coverage and the input of local citizens in identifying White, 48, as the suspect. He was arrested Thursday on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats.

The gun incident turned out to be one of two reported violent moments during Wednesday’s largely peaceful protest over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The protest started as a gathering near Newport Pier before becoming a march up and down the boardwalk and Balboa Boulevard.

The worldwide civil unrest caused by George Floyd’s death — by suffocation, as one officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes — largely did not slide into violence in Newport Beach, where four demonstrations were planned around the city Wednesday.

A motorist, identified as Newport Beach resident Don Wallace, allegedly sped a white Mini Cooper through a group of protesters near Marina Park, grazing several without injury before being pulled over nearby and arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. The car’s windshield was shattered when he was arrested, but it was unclear how it was damaged.

Several Twitter users posted video of that incident as well, showing marchers screaming, scrambling, dropping signs and chasing after the car. The car narrowly missed a toddler riding in a bicycle’s child seat.

A spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday that the case was not with prosecutors yet.

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