Fairfield wants to keep weapons taken from home

By From page A1 | May 07, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A handgun and a pump-action shotgun taken by police after a report of domestic violence should remain with the city, an attorney for Fairfield said – while the man who had the weapons wants them transferred to a licensed gun dealer for storage.

Assistant City Attorney Toussaint Bailey said in a Solano County Superior Court filing that such a transfer would allow Thomas Downard, 63, to regain the firearms in about a year when a restraining order expires.

Moreover, the law that requires the city to confiscate the weapons prohibits the transfer, Bailey said. Fairfield does not object to Downard selling the weapons to the dealer – with Downard not having the right to posses the handgun and shotgun, the attorney said.

A Wednesday court hearing is set in the matter.

Attorney Barry Newman, representing Downard in the weapons matter, said in court papers that the city has the burden to establish that return of the weapons would endanger the 58-year-old family member listed in police reports as the victim in the Jan. 10 incident at Downard’s home on Hazelwood Court.

The firearms can’t endanger the 58-year-old because Downard wouldn’t possess them, Newman said. A licensed dealer from Sonoma County said in a declaration that, “Once I pick up the firearms Mr. Downard will have no access to them.”

The 58-year-old woman said Downard came home from work at about 6:30 p.m. and accused her of taking his guns, according to the police report filed in Solano County Superior Court. She told him she didn’t know where his guns were and Downard then allegedly picked up a broom, walked toward her and said, “I have to end this,” according to the report.

The woman ran out of an open garage door to a neighbor and called 911, the report said. She told police Downard had been taking prescribed morphine and that the medication may have caused him to act that way, according to the report. Downard had never so behaved before, she said.

A Fairfield police officer, told by the woman that Downard didn’t touch her with the broom, determined no crime had been committed. The woman said several firearms were in the house and police dispatch left four voice mail messages asking that Downard exit the house with nothing in his hands, but he did not respond, the police report said.

The officer drove the woman to a friend’s house in Suisun City and gave her his business card, told her about the domestic violence program available in Solano County and provided information about domestic violence.

At about 1:10 a.m. the next day, a resident of Hazelwood Court reported a man knocking on the door and police said Downard was lying down on the front porch. The 63-year-old’s speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol, according to the police report. He was booked at Solano County Jail on suspicion of public drunkenness.

When the officer informed the 58-year-old woman of Downard’s arrest, she said Downard used the broom to push her toward the wall and allegedly told her, “It’s time for you to die” and allegedly threatened to kill her, according to the police report. Downard was arrested on suspicion of criminal threats and battery.

The woman later said she found the key to Downard’s gun safe and asked police to take the 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition inside. An emergency protective court order was issued for the woman.

Downard appeared Jan. 31 in court but the District Attorney’s Office filed a notice that it did not intend to prosecute the criminal case because of insufficient evidence.

The restraining order against Downard, which prohibits him from possessing weapons, ends at midnight March 5, 2015, according to court documents. The woman has moved out of the house and legal steps to end her and Downard’s relationship have begun, attorney Newman said in court papers.

The attorney said he expects the weapons matter to be resolved Wednesday with the court hearing and declined to comment further.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


Discussion | 7 comments

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  • PornacMay 07, 2014 - 7:31 am

    This is just another way our government is taking our guns. He only has a broomstick now to defend himself from this woman and the government.

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  • BMay 07, 2014 - 7:51 am

    IF he is not allowed to own firearms how is this an issue whatsoever?

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  • BMay 07, 2014 - 7:52 am

    Nevermind. Didnt read that correctly. He should be allowed to have them held at a licensed dealer.

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  • Typical County WorkerMay 07, 2014 - 7:57 am

    So the real question is, how much money will the city make by holding the weapons vs. giving them to the dealer. I'm sure they charge a storage fee or somehow able to sell them later. I doubt this is all about public safety.

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  • DA Fails to File Charges in Another Domestic Violence CaseMay 07, 2014 - 10:34 am

    The focus in this domestic violence story on the batterer's right to his guns is ridiculous. Why wasn't this story about the victim or the fact that the DA failed to file charges against the DV batterer? Why wasn't the victim or the victim's attorney contacted for comment? Anyone who is so out of control that they hold a broom to someone's throat and tell them, "I have to end this", and who is found in a drunken and drug induced stupor unconscious on a neighbor's porch, should not be in possession of firearms. I can't believe this man is wasting our tax dollars arguing this issue. Until a CLETS restraining order expires domestic violence batterers lose their right to possess weapons. Period. I am a big supporter of the second amendment but I do not support people with mental health or substance abuse issues owning weapons. When you break the law and injure someone, you lose certain privileges, in this case the privilege of saying exactly where you want your guns secured. Just as inmates loose the right to say exactly where their personal possessions will be secured when they are booked into jail. This gun owner was a danger to himself but more importantly he was a danger to others as evidenced by Downard's abuse of his wife.

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  • meMay 07, 2014 - 3:51 pm

    wow.....hes crazy and a gun rights freak...gee thats a new one..lol

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  • Rich GiddensMay 07, 2014 - 8:02 pm

    I wonder how many factual errors are in this reporter's article. Probably lots----like Jess Sulivan's slanted and biased error filled articles.

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