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Florida Man Andre Abrams Accused Of Using Flamethrower To Settle Dispute

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — A 57-year-old Gainesville man is accused of firing a flamethrower toward a car with three teens inside in a long-running dispute over his neighbor's parking habits.

No one was hurt.

Andre Abrams is facing three counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intending to kill, according to court records. He posted a $15,000 bond last week and is awaiting a decision whether prosecutors will formally file criminal charges.

The mother of one of the teens, Ashley Gainey, said Abrams frequently sprayed the flamethrower to scare off guests at her home. Gainey's daughter, Nate'talya Baker, 16, fled the car with her friends as Abrams continued to spray flames toward them, police said.

"When he shoots it, it lights the whole road up," Gainey said. "It's like it's daylight outside. He'll do it in the middle of the night."

In his arrest report, police identified the weapon in the November 30th incident as an XM42 Lite Flamethrower, which shoots flames up to 20 feet and is manufactured by X Products LLC of Vancouver, Washington. It sells for about $900 online.

X Products said the devices are legal to buy and own in every state except Maryland or California.

The company — which also sells T-shirts identifying the wearer as a "little terrorist" — requires buyers to accept a liability waiver and affirm they were never convicted of a felony, domestic abuse or arson.

Abrams was twice convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery after arrests in 2002 and 2004.

In the U.S., there are no federal laws regulating the sale of flamethrowers, which are not considered firearms. A congressman in New York introduced a restrictive bill he called "Flamethrowers? Really?" in 2019 but the measure didn't pass. Florida outlaws the manufacture or sale of shotgun shells called "dragon's breath" that mimic flamethrowers by shooting a flame or fireball.

Police said Abrams admitted shooting the flamethrower toward the vehicle, as part of the long-running dispute, but denied targeting the teens.

"This family, how could I say this — the worst thing that could ever happen to a neighborhood," Abrams said. "They've had issues with other residents, and it needs to be brought to light."

The driver of the parked car, Amari Singleton, told police she and her two passengers saw Abrams approach them with the flamethrower and begin spraying fire. Police said flames came within five feet of the vehicle as they escaped using the passenger's side door.

Gainey, the mother of one of the teens, said she confronted him during the incident.

"He shot it toward them," she said. "When I got to the door, he was still shooting it. I asked him, 'What is your effin' problem?'"

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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