Man who threw bleach, Molotov cocktail at cops had five more explosives

The unhinged motorist who tossed a cup of bleach in a cop’s face then hurled a lit Molotov cocktail at a police vehicle had five more of the makeshift explosives in his car — and said he planned to use them on law enforcement, prosecutors revealed Monday.

Lionel Virgile, 44, told the FBI after his arrest that he created the Molotov cocktails two weeks earlier to “hurt the police” and knew the devices would “spark a fire,” according to a detention memo.

His ex-wife told The Post Sunday that he suffers from bipolar disorder and has been off his meds for nearly two years.

Virgile appeared virtually Monday in Brooklyn federal court on a charge of attempted arson for the April 17 assault on police.

“The defendant’s brutal attack on the NYPD shows he’s an ongoing danger to law enforcement, and to the larger Brooklyn community, and that he has absolutely no respect for the law,” said Assistant US Attorney Sarah Winik, arguing that Virgile should be detained without bail.

On Saturday morning, Virgile allegedly blew through a red light in his grey 2000 Lincoln Town Car at the intersection of Clarendon Road and 45th Street in East Flatbush.

After an NYPD officer pulled him over, he opened his door and flung a cup of bleach in his face, which was captured on the cop’s body camera. The officer had to be treated at a nearby hospital for chemical burns around his eyes and could have been blinded, Winik told Magistrate Judge Robert Levy.

Police body camera footage of Lionel Virgile throwing a cup of bleach at a NYPD officer on April 17, 2021 in Brooklyn.
Police body camera footage of Lionel Virgile throwing a cup of bleach at a NYPD officer on April 17, 2021 in Brooklyn.

Virgile allegedly fled and was pursued by other NYPD officers in a police cruiser.

About ten minutes into the chase, Virgile pulled over, jumped out of the car and allegedly tossed a lit Molotov cocktail at the NYPD vehicle, which hit the windshield and shattered on the sidewalk without detonating, court papers allege.

The crazed driver hopped back into his Lincoln and sped off only to crash into a parked vehicle about a block away on Snyder Avenue, where he was taken into custody, officials said.

The FBI conducted a sweep of his car and found the five other explosive devices, made of glass bottles, gasoline and a cloth wick. He later confessed, according to court papers.

Defense lawyer Michelle Gelernt did not make a bail argument. The judge ordered Virgile’s detention. “Mr. Virgile is a danger to the community and a risk of flight and the government has shown that by fairly convincing evidence at this point,” he said.

The Connecticut man had been living in his car, according to his ex-wife, Marie Theodate, who shares a daughter with him. She said their family has tried desperately to get him help.

“Every time we try to call cops on him they come get him and they let him go,” she said. “They take him to the ER and they let him go.”

Credit: NYPOST

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