Man arrested after flashing gun in Balboa Park - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man arrested after flashing gun in Balboa Park

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — A man was arrested in Balboa Park on Monday morning, accused of flashing a gun at firefighters.

A San Diego Fire Department crew was at the park to put out a brush fire near the Cabrillo Bridge when the incident occurred.

Crews were called to the location near 700 El Prado just after 9 a.m. and were working on two small fires when they say a homeless man emerged from an encampment and reached for what they believed to be a gun.

"They gave stern demands to not touch the gun, get away from the gun. He did not comply," said San Diego Fire Captain James Shadoan. "He briskly grabbed the gun. My engineer and firefighters quickly exited the canyon." 

Firefighters retreated and radioed for help. San Diego police officers responded to the scene a couple minutes and took the man into custody.

The man was identified by police as 52-year-old Victor Sandoval. Authorities day Sandoval told them he had given the gun to another transient. Firefighters didn't believe the suspect and began searching the area. After about an hour they located the item which turned out to be an airsoft revolver. 

The firefighter who saw it said in the moment he believed it to be a real gun.

"You don't have time to analyze if this is a real gun when someone's reaching for a gun and pointing it in your direction. You're not going to take the time to ask if it's a real gun - and the pellet gun can absolutely do some damage too," said Capt. Shadoan. 

Firefighters also said they are running into these types of dangerous situations more and more when responding to calls. 

"We go hands-on with a lot of homeless people, people under the influence of drugs - carrying knives, guns," said Shadoan. "A lot of them want to fight us and yeah, it's becoming more of the norm." 

As of Monday, Sandoval only faces a misdemeanor drug-related charge, but as the investigation continues into the gun and fire he could face more charges. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday. 

Chopper 8 footage of the scene following the incident:

Note: This story has been updated to reflect the suspect's age is 52, not 61 as previously reported

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