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Homeless man accused in propane-tank explosion near squad car

Surveillance video led to the arrest of a former Dorchester resident.

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A 42-year-old homeless man faces charges accusing him of detonating a propane tank under a Boston police car, authorities said Sunday.

Massachusetts State Police stopped a car driven by Asim Kieta at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday in Charlestown after police released surveillance photos of a suspect in the bombing and a car believed to be his vehicle.

Kieta, formerly of Dorchester, was walking along West Broadway in South Boston Friday morning and intentionally set fire to a propane tank next to the police car, investigators say. An officer quickly moved the cruiser before the tank detonated.

Two officers sustained minor injuries in the incident and the explosion caused minor damage to the police vehicle.

Kieta was arrested on charges that include assault and battery on a police officer, assault with intent to murder, possession of an explosive or destructive incendiary device and arson.

We’re not clear on the motive,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans told local news media on Sunday."Whether there's a hatred of police because of his past behavior or whether there is some nexus to what's going on in the world as far as terrorism or what happened yesterday with the demonstrations, we're not clear."

Kieta, who is believed to be homeless, has a lengthy criminal past, Evans said.

“He’s been in and out of jail.”

 

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