[Updated] Officer-involved shooting in Newport Beach leaves suspect in critical condition
Police shot an armed man after an outburst of gunfire at the beach Friday night, leaving the man hospitalized and a pool of blood outside his Newport Beach home, according to authorities and witnesses.
Neighbors said Scott Jay Abraham, 43, walked onto his beach-adjacent patio about 9:45 p.m. and started firing multiple shots into the air over the ocean.
Abraham held a .45-caliber handgun and said, “This is one,” before squeezing off the first round, according to neighbor Randy Baker, who dove for cover as Abraham allegedly fired again saying, “This is two.”
Police said they had responded to the home in the 4600 block of Seashore Drive on the Balboa Peninsula and started setting up a perimeter when they saw Abraham on the patio.
After he shot again, at least two officers returned fire, striking Abraham, Newport Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said.
After taking Abraham into custody, authorities transported him to Western Medical in Santa Ana in critical condition, Manzella said. A hospital representative said she could not release Abraham’s condition Saturday afternoon.
No officers were hurt during the confrontation, according to Manzella.
Residents on Abraham’s block said police were familiar with the man, who made a living selling supplements online.
Last month, Newport Beach officers carrying rifles stormed Abraham’s home and took him into custody, neighbor Angela Flora said. Police confirmed they detained Abraham for a mental-health hold on June 9, but could not provide more details.
Abraham’s family owned the condo on the beach for decades, neighbors said, but it wasn’t until recent years that he started living there full time.
Flora and Baker said his behavior became erratic after the death of his father.
“All of a sudden, he just changed,” Flora said.
The situation had calmed down after Abraham returned from the mental hold, according to neighbors, and he seemed normal over the Fourth of July weekend.
But Wednesday, police again responded when Abraham allegedly rammed his car through a recently cemented parking barrier and never stopped to tell the neighbor who’d just installed it.
Later that night, neighbors allegedly heard him “screeching” and ranting about the crash from inside his condo.
About 5 p.m. Friday, there was another incident, although neighbors’ and police’s accounts differ.
Baker said Abraham accosted a group of vacationers and threatened one of them with a screwdriver, but the alleged victim declined to press charges when police arrived.
Police said Abraham was drunkenly banging on doors but retreated to his house and wouldn’t respond when officers tried to contact him.
“No crime was committed so there was no report taken,” Manzella said.
Just hours later, Abraham was firing the handgun into the air, Baker said, although he believed it could have been worse.
“My fear is today he would have lit up the beach,” the neighbor said Saturday.
Manzella could not immediately confirm nor deny whether police had any prior contact with Abraham.
Saturday afternoon, Abraham’s patio had been washed down. His outdoor wooden furniture and grill looked as normal as any other deck lined up along that stretch of sand.
The only signs left a day after the shooting were a bullet hole through a chair outside a nearby condo and the cigarette butt still on the ground from when Abraham’s next-door neighbor scrambled for safety.
Newport Beach police are still investigating Abraham’s actions, and ask that anyone with information contact Det. Kyle Cammack at (949) 644-3779, or Sgt. Keith Krallman at (949) 644-3764.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office will investigate whether the officers’ use of force was justified.
This is the second Newport Beach officer-involved shooting in a little more than a month.
Police shot and killed 22-year-old Gerrit Vos on March 29 when he allegedly ran toward them with scissors.
District attorney’s investigators have not yet released any findings in that case.