Man who threw molotov cocktail, chemical at officers in Brooklyn to face federal charges: NYPD

Man accused of throwing chemical substance at nypd officer in Brooklyn

Lionel Virgile allegedly threw a chemical substance at an NYPD officer and a lit molotov cocktail at a police vehicle in Brooklyn on April 17, 2021, according to the NYPD (Credit: NYPD)

EAST FLATBUSH, Brooklyn — A Connecticut man accused of throwing a chemical in an officer’s face and launching a molotov cocktail at a police vehicle in Brooklyn will face federal charges, an NYPD spokesperson said Sunday.

Lionel Virgile, of Bridgeport, was arrested on Saturday morning after he led police on a chase through East Flatbush and crashed into a parked SUV, officials said.

The melee began just before 8 a.m. near Clarendon Road and East 45th Street, authorities said. When police pulled over Virgile, 44, for allegedly running a red light, authorities said he threw an unknown chemical substance in an officer’s face and took off.

The officers called for back-up and chased Virgile’s car to Snyder Avenue, where he stopped, got out of his car and threw a lit molotov cocktail at an NYPD vehicle, police said. The molotov cocktail didn’t hit the vehicle and shattered on the ground, according to police.

Further down Snyder Avenue, police said Virgile’s vehicle hit a parked SUV and officers took him into custody.

While searching his vehicle, officers found three more molotov cocktails, according to police.

The officer who was hit with the chemical substance was treated for chemical burns and blurry vision at a hospital, police said.

The NYPD and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted a video showing the moment the substance was thrown at the officer. 

“This is another reminder of how quickly a situation can change, [and] the dangers your cops face every day while they’re protecting [New Yorkers],” Shea wrote. “Even after arrest, the investigation into this attack remains active. And your NYPD cops will not relent  in their mission to keep you safe.”

Warning: The tweet below contains language that some may find offensive

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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