Man accused of throwing Molotov cocktail at NYPD cops prepped devices to ‘hurt the police’
Lionel Virgile hurled bleach in a plastic cup at an officer who came up to his car, then fled the scene and later threw a lit incendiary device at another squad car
By Noah Goldberg
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — The Connecticut man accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at an NYPD squad car admitted to cops that he made the explosive devices specifically to use against law enforcement, the feds said Monday.
Lionel Virgile, 44, was charged in Brooklyn Federal Court with attempted arson for the Saturday morning attack, which was partially caught on body-cam footage.
He “purchased the materials to create the Molotov cocktails approximately two weeks ago with the intent to ‘hurt the police,’” prosecutors wrote in a motion to have Virgile jailed pre-trial.
“The defendant’s brutal and entirely unprovoked attack on NYPD showed that he is both a danger to the community and a flight risk,” said Sara Wink, the assistant U.S. attorney on the case.
“Fortunately, the Molotov cocktail hit the police windshield and then fell to the ground without exploding,” Winik added.
The shocking attack began around 8 a.m. Saturday in East Flatbush, near E. 45th St. and Clarendon Road, when cops pulled Virgile over for running a red light in his 2000 Lincoln Town Car.
Virgile hurled bleach that was in a plastic cup at one of the officers who came up to his car, then sped off, the feds said. The cop was hospitalized.
Today, a vehicle stop for running a red light proved once again that no traffic enforcement is “routine.” When approached, the driver doused a cop with a chemical before fleeing, tossing a Molotov cocktail — and finally being arrested. Fortunately, our officers weren’t injured. pic.twitter.com/WBDt89b7F6— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 17, 2021
He was pulled over again less than a mile away at E. 55th St. and Snyder Ave.
When cops got out of their squad car, Virgile threw the “lit incendiary device” at them, though it did not explode, prosecutors said.
Virgile drove off again, but crashed into another vehicle a block away and was taken into custody, prosecutors said.
When cops looked through his car, they found another five prepped Molotov cocktails, filled with yellow liquid and cloth wicks, according to an FBI agent.
Virgile admitted to the police after his arrest that he had prepared the Molotov cocktails two weeks ago “with the intent to injure police officers,” prosecutors said.
Winik told Judge Robert Levy that Virgile currently does not have a job and is living out of his vehicle.
Virgile’s attorney Michelle Gelernt did not make a bail application Monday.
Virgile is due back in court on May 3.
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