Police are investigating after a man with a loaded gun washed up on the Jones Beach shore Tuesday morning after he apparently drifted out to sea in a raft days ago.
According to authorities, the man identified as Pablo Perez, 47, of Queens staggered onto the Central Mall of Jones Beach Park Tuesday at around 6:15 a.m. where he approached a jogger, asking for help.
“I said, ‘Where did you come from?’” said Gary Smith. “He said, ‘the ocean.’”
At the time, Perez was wearing a wet suit beneath street clothes, police said. He told the jogger he had become separated from a fishing boat three days earlier and had managed to survive by clinging on to an inflatable raft.
Smith said the man added, “Oh, by the way, I have a gun.”
After the jogger called 911, police and an ambulance arrived to the scene. As they approached Perez, he alerted officers that he had a gun underneath his clothes.
Before transporting him to Nassau University Medical Center for an evaluation, officers seized the weapon described as a loaded 25 cal. semi automatic pistol. Officers also discovered the nine foot raft at the shoreline which is now in the possession of State Park Police.
“In the middle of the night he saw a light and just started paddling, and he ended up on the beach and he didn’t know where he was,” the man told Smith.
Officials are still trying to determine whether Perez's story is true. A call to the U.S. Coast Guard Command in Connecticut revealed no ongoing searches or bulletins for missing vessels. The investigation is ongoing.
Peter Thorne contributed to this report.