Man accused of throwing Molotov cocktail, bleach at officers appears in federal court

Bodycam footage captured the incident. Officers stopped the 44-year-old after they saw him drive through a red light.

News 12 Staff

Apr 19, 2021, 9:33 PM

Updated 1,191 days ago

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A man accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail and bleach at police officers in East Flatbush over the weekend appeared in federal court Monday. 
The hearing was set to determine if 44-year-old Lionel Virgile should be released on bail.  
The incident happened on East 45th Street and Clarendon Road on Saturday morning. Prosecutors argue that he should be held because of what they’re calling a violent crime intending to cause danger to law enforcement. 
They’re also saying he’s a danger to the community. The judge agreed with some of the prosecutor's arguments and said he is also a flight risk. 
For now, Virgile is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. 
Bodycam footage captured the incident. Officers stopped the 44-year-old after they saw him drive through a red light. 
As they approached the car, they say he opened the driver's side door and threw bleach at the officers and hit one of them in the eyes before speeding away. 
Police say this led to a chase and that 10 minutes later, he stopped and allegedly threw a lit Molotov cocktail at the NYPD car before crashing into a parked vehicle. 
Police say that’s when they arrested Virgile. They say they found five additional Molotov cocktails and gas in his car. 
Virgile is scheduled to be back in court for a preliminary hearing on the morning of May 3. 
He is facing charges of attempted arson. If convicted, the charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20. 
Over the weekend, News 12 spoke on the phone with Virgile's brother, who said Virgile suffers from mental illness and lives out of his car.  He told News 12 that his brother needs professional help.


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