Molotov cocktail thrower cuffed
Attacker allegedly confessed to plotting fi rebomb assault on NYPD weeks ago
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
& AIDAN GRAHAM
The Connecticut man accused
of splashing bleach in
a Brooklyn offi cer’s face and
hurling a Molotov cocktail at
a police cruiser quickly confessed
to hatching out a plot
to fi rebomb NYPD vehicles
weeks ago, according to federal
Lionel Virgile, 38, of Bridgeport
allegedly waived his
Miranda rights and provided
a statement admitting toward
tossing a cup full of bleach at
a 67th Precinct offi cer who
stopped him for a traffi c violation
in East Flatbush on the
morning of April 17 — then
lobbing an incendiary devices
at offi cers who pursued him.
The Molotov cocktail, however,
bounced off the cruiser’s
windshield and hit the ground,
without causing any injury to
the offi cers inside.
Shortly after Virgile was
stopped and taken into custody,
according to the criminal
complaint, offi cers found
fi ve other Molotov cocktails
full of gasoline inside the vehicle.
COURIER L 12 IFE, APRIL 23-29, 2021
During questioning, Virgile
allegedly admitted to creating
the devices with the intent
to injure police offi cers.
Also, federal prosecutors
said, Virgile allegedly told investigators
that he had been
driving around Brooklyn “for
at least two weeks” with about
six Molotov cocktails with the
intent of attacking police.
The suspect was arraigned
Monday afternoon on a federal
charges of arson under Title 18
of the US Code, Section 844. He
faces between fi ve and 20 years
behind bars if convicted.
Cops said that Virgile blew
a red light at the corner of
Clarendon Road and East 45th
Street at about 7:56 a.m. on
April 17, prompting the initial
stop by 67th Precinct offi cers.
Footage taken by one of the
offi cer’s bodycams shows Virgile
reaching down near the
driver’s side door, then opening
it and throwing the cup
of bleach at the offi cer, who
wound up suffering minor
Virgile then hit the accelerator
and fl ed from the scene,
authorities said. The offi cers
radioed in a description of the
culprit and request additional
Moments later, in the area
of Snyder Avenue and East
56th Street, Virgile allegedly
chucked the fi ery cocktail at
another 67th Precinct cruiser.
Seconds later, he crashed into
a parked SUV, and the offi cers
moved in to arrest him without
Brooklyn Borough President
Eric Adams, a former
cop and a candidate for mayor,
blasted the incident, and lamented
the dangers that offi -
cers face while patrolling the
“NYPD offi cers face dangerous
day in the course of doing their
job. When you attack a police
offi cer, you are attacking the
symbol of public safety,” Adams
said in a statement. “Yesterday,
a man threw a chemical
in an offi cer’s face and a
Molotov cocktail at a squad car
in Brooklyn during a traffi c
stop. I am thankful that these
offi cers are safe, and that this
dangerous individual was arrested.”
The alleged attack comes
as demonstrators around the
country have been marching
in the streets to protest police
violence after a number of recent
incidents — including
when a Minnesota cop shot
Daunte Wright after mistaking
her gun for a taser during
a traffi c stop, and 13-year-old
Adam Toledo died after an offi -
cer shot him in Chicago while
he held his hands in the air.
The vehicle allegedly driven by Lionel Virgile of Connecticut, who attacked
cops in Brooklyn on April 17. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
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