Police Say Suspect Threw Bleach, Molotov Cocktail At Officers

A Connecticut man was taken into custody after allegedly hurling bleach in an NYPD officer’s face and throwing a lit Molotov cocktail at others. CBS2's Christina Fan reports.

Video Transcript

- A man is under arrest after police say he threw bleach at an officer's face and then hurled a molotov cocktail at other officers in Brooklyn. CBS 2's Christina Fan joins us live from East Flatbush with more. Christina?

CHRISTINA FAN: Good morning, Cindy. We can still see shards of glass on the ground from where that suspect threw that lit molotov cocktail at officers. He then took off, crashing his car just up the road. And inside his vehicle, police say, they found three more similar devices.

44-year-old Lionel Virgil was let out of the 67th precinct in handcuffs just before midnight, accused of hurling bleach and then a molotov cocktail at police. Body cam footage from hours earlier shows how the routine traffic stop quickly escalated. The officer pulled over the driver Saturday morning for running a red light.

- What are you getting out for?

- He was quickly blindsided by the suspect, who got out of the car and hit him in the face with bleach. As the officer yelled out in pain, the driver took off. A few minutes later, not far away, when other officers stopped the suspect near the corner of 54th Street and Snyder Avenue, he threw a lit molotov cocktail at them. The bottle bounced off the NYPD car and hit the ground. The suspect, again, sped off only to crash and then be arrested. That's when officers discovered three additional molotov cocktails in his vehicle.

- This is insane. I never heard nothing like this. We've been living over here since the '90s, and there's never been nothing this insane.

- The police commissioner, responding to this incident, tweeting, "Every day, your NYPD police officers are out there keeping New York City safe." Meanwhile, the Police Benevolent Association is also reacting, sending a safety alert to its members that says, "make no mistake. This is the environment that our elected officials have created." Retired NYPD Sergeant Johnny Nunez agrees.

JOHNNY NUNEZ: The political rhetoric going around, I think it's a dangerous thing that's happening right now. You're talking about a molotov cocktail. You're talking about a liquid. You have a possible chemical that could disfigure someone.

- And federal prosecutors with the US Attorney's office are now taking over the case. Charges against the suspect, still, pending as of this morning. We're live from East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Christina Fan, CBS 2 News.

- Christina, thank you.