Florida Man Angry Over Neighbors' Parking Habits Uses Flamethrower at Occupied Car: Police

A Florida man used a flamethrower on a car with three teenagers inside after he was angry about a running feud with his neighbor's parking habits.

Andre Abrams, 57, admitted to using a flamethrower, which shoots flames up to 20 feet, towards his neighbor's parked car over what he says is a long-running feud over their parking. However, he denied targeting the teens, police said.

"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."

Armani Singleton, one of the three teenagers in the car, was sitting in the driver's seat when she and the others saw Abrams come towards them and start spraying fire before they escaped.

"You better not burn up my car," she said, according to police.

Ashley Gainey, the mother of one of the teens, confronted Abrams as he was shooting flames towards the vehicle.

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

This isn't the first time Abrams has used a flamethrower in the neighborhood. Gainey said Abrams often sprayed flames to scare away visitors at her home.

"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."

According to police, Abrams admitted to shooting the flame thrower in the direction of the vehicle but said he didn't target the teens inside.

Police, Crime Scene Tape, Philadelphia
Tape cordons off the scene of a shooting in the Ogontz section of Philadelphia, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Abrams of Gainesville 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.

Gainey's daughter, Nate'talya Baker, 16, fled the car with her friends as Abrams continued to spray flames toward them, police said.

Police said flames came within five feet of the vehicle as they escaped using the passenger's side door.

In his arrest report, police identified the weapon in the November 30 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.

"You've probably wondered if you can own a flamethrower, and guess what? You can!" the company said in a promotional video last year. "No permits or licenses needed." It 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.

It wasn't clear whether police had seized the flamethrower.

Abrams said in a brief phone interview that he could not discuss the case without consulting an attorney over fear of being evicted from his home by the local housing authority. Alachua County Circuit Judge Meshon T. Rawls formally approved his request for a public defender, according to court records filed Tuesday.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Florida Student Arrested
A man is out on bail after using a flame thrower on a neighbor's car with three teens inside over a parking dispute. Above, a police vehicle is seen in Philadelphia on June 24, 2021. Matt Rourke/AP Photo