UPDATE: Police questioning suspect in possible hate crimes in Queens
UPDATE: Police are now questioning a suspect in the string of firebombings in Queens on Sunday night, according to the New York Post.
The NYPD picked up a man Monday night and are questioning him now, according to the report.
Police were looking for a man suspected of throwing homemade Molotov cocktails at as many as five locations throughout Queens on Sunday night, including at a mosque, two homes, a bodega and a third home that was used as a Hindu temple. Nobody was injured in any of the incidents. Police, however, considered the attacks possible hate crimes.
The Post also reported that the man threatened bodega workers at the 179th Street Deli after he was caught trying to steal milk and bottles of Starbucks Frappucino.
“You’re going to get it!” he shouted at deli workers, according to the Post.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Islamic leaders, the Anti-Defamation League and members of 30 other religious groups at the Al-Khoei Islamic Center this morning, the site where a bomb was thrown into the front door.
Bloomberg said that, regardless of whether they were bias attacks, the violence was unacceptable.
“We are outraged by these shocking and despicable acts directed at houses of worship,” said Ron Meier, New York director of the Anti-Defamation League. “These heinous crimes are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”
- Carly Baldwin
UPDATE: Police have released a sketch of a suspect they believe threw Molotov cocktails at four locations in Queens Sunday night. Officers said they are considering all four incidents, including a house fire, possible hate crimes.
The first attack happened around 8 p.m. when a Molotov cocktail made with a bottle was thrown at the counter of a 179 Street Deli on Hillside Avenue.
Police said a fire that badly damaged a private residence on 107th Avenue just after 8 p.m. was also caused by a Molotov cocktail.
About 45 minutes later, between 60 and 80 people were inside the Al-Khoei Benevolent Foundation in Jamaica when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at one of the building’s doors.
“It is a surprise that we are not expecting here in New York to happen,” said Munir Hussain, who works in administration for the mosque. “The people are very brave and they are confident in the NYPD.”
The building also houses a school. Hussain said parents have voiced concern, but security has been increased and classes will resume tomorrow.
The final attack involved two explosives thrown at a home that also holds Hindu worship services on 170th Street.
“The attacks on a religious institution and private property in Queens represent a brand of intolerance and bigotry that cannot be allowed to stand in our city,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “These appalling acts of vandalism are an affront to all New Yorkers. I applaud the NYPD and State authorities for their rapid response, and urge the full prosecution of these attacks as the hate crimes they truly are.”
There were no injuries reported in connection to the incidents.
Police said the suspect was spotted fleeing the scene in a light-colored four-door sedan. They are offering a $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.