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Brooklyn cop attacker allegedly confessed to plotting firebomb assault on NYPD weeks ago

The vehicle allegedly driven by Lionel Virgile of Connecticut, who attacked cops in Brooklyn on April 17, 2021.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The Connecticut man accused of splashing bleach in a Brooklyn officer’s face and hurling a Molotov cocktail at a police cruiser quickly confessed to hatching out a plot to firebomb NYPD vehicles weeks ago, according to federal court documents.

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 officer who stopped him for a traffic violation in East Flatbush on the morning of April 17 — then lobbing an incendiary devices at officers who pursued him.

The Molotov cocktail, however, bounced off the cruiser’s windshield and hit the ground, without causing any injury to the officers inside.

Shortly after Virgile was stopped and taken into custody, according to the criminal complaint, officers found five other Molotov cocktails full of gasoline inside the vehicle. During questioning, Virgile allegedly admitted to creating the devices with the intent to injure police officers.

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 U.S. Code, Section 844. He faces between 5 and 20 years behind bars if convicted.

Bodycam footage from the NYPD shows the suspect, identified as Connecticut’s Lionel Virgile, just as he tossed a cup full of caustic liquid at an officer from Brooklyn’s 67th Precinct on the morning of April 17, 2021.Screenshot from video via Twitter/@NYPDNews

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 officers.

Footage taken by one of the officer’s bodycams shows Virgile reaching down near the driver’s side door, then opening it and throwing the cup of bleach at the officer, who wound up suffering minor burns.

Virgile then hit the accelerator and fled from the scene, authorities said. The officers radioed in a description of the culprit and request additional assistance.

Moments later, in the area of Snyder Avenue and East 56th Street, Virgile allegedly chucked the fiery cocktail at another 67th Precinct cruiser. Seconds later, he crashed into a parked SUV, and the officers moved in to arrest him without further incident.

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