Police: Someone torched officer’s car in his driveway – fire spread to police vehicle and then the house

Fire by Ricardo Gomez Angel is licensed under Unsplash unsplash.com
Clarkson, NY –As two Monroe County deputies slept in the middle of the night, someone decided it was a good idea to set at least one of their personally owned vehicles on fire.  The fire was first reported around 3:30am on July 19th.  Once firefighters arrived on scene, they saw that the fire began with one vehicle, which quickly spread to a second police vehicle, followed by a portion of the house.  At this time, the motive for setting the vehicle ablaze is not known and there has been no suspect information released at this time.  It was noted that video surveillance in the area has been recovered and is being reviewed.


Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said in a statement: “This type of behavior is extremely concerning to me.  Deputies and their families will always be my priority.  Whatever the reason for this fire, know that our investigators are working diligently through the weekend to determine the cause.  We are conducting a full court press to find who is responsible.  Make no mistake, we will find you and ensure those responsible are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Although there is nothing known at this time which would indicate exactly why the fire was set, if it had to do with the owners being in law enforcement or some other reason, it is highly plausible that it is connected to the current anti-law enforcement atmosphere that is prevalent throughout the United States, especially in New York.  There have been wide spread reports of violence towards officers and the destruction of police vehicles, one of which happened in June.

United States Prosecutors filed multiple criminal charges against three people involved in riots there after they were alleged to have thrown Molotov cocktails at police cars.  In another case in New York, Victor Sanchez-Santa is accused of selecting an unoccupied marked police vehicle and placing an object underneath that caused it to set fire, in an attempt to burn down the police vehicle.

US Attorney General Geoffrey Berman said: “As alleged, the defendant selected a clearly marked NYPD vehicle, walked up beside it, started a fire under the vehicle, and fled the scene.  In allegedly doing so, he maliciously targeted law enforcement.  Arson is also a threat to more than its immediate victim, with the potential to destroy and terrify far beyond the place where a fire is set.” In yet a different case, two lawyers were arrested for throwing Molotov cocktails at marked New York police vehicles.

Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman, in the early morning hours of May 29th, were in New York to participate in the riots and protests stemming from the murder of George Floyd.  Prosecutors allege that both lawyers approached a marked car that had a window broken and threw a Molotov cocktail inside. The two were arrested shortly after the crime. In Philadelphia, riots and looting was reported, which caused officers to respond in an attempt to stop the destruction in the area.

However, as they exited their vehicles, the crowd came up and began destroying the cars.  After breaking the windows of the police vehicles, the rioters then set fire to them in the middle of the street.

Violence against the police has become a normal trend in what is modern America after the murder of George Floyd. Several people, from members of Antifa to Black Lives Matter, call for the destruction of statutes, religious symbols, and violence directly targeted a police. 

The most recent incident of a Molotov Cocktail being thrown at police was not the first. Back in October of 2019 Law Enforcement Today reported on another incident.  EASTON, Penn. - In an astonishing court decision, a man who allegedly threw molotov cocktails at police and then charged at them with a machete during a heated standoff has been acquitted of attempted homicide. But somehow all of the other charges stuck. Jeffrey Folkner was found guilty on numerous accounts... but not attempted homicide.

Let's back up and start at the beginning of what led to the violent standoff. In July of 2018, Pennsylvania authorities responded to the home of Jeffrey Folkner after receiving calls about a domestic dispute inside the residence. According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, Folkner had assaulted his roommate.  When the police arrived at Folkner's home, he refused to come out or comply with the officers' orders. Instead, he began preparing an arsenal for the ensuing standoff. During the tense situation with authorities, Folkner allegedly began lobbing gas-filled glass bottles at the officers at the scene, causing a nearby business to erupt into flames.

Another molotov cocktail blew up right by where police were standing and reportedly scorched a squad car. Molotov cocktails use glass bottles filled with gas to cause fiery explosions that spread and are hard to contain. As the standoff continued with Folkner, who claims that he was suicidal and did not intend on hurting anyone other than himself, the suspect allegedly grew more agitated, refusing to surrender. At one point, officers say that the disturbed suspect fired off a shotgun, though no one was struck by the shot.

Finally, Folkner began advancing on the officers while armed with a machete, prosecutors say.  After he came towards the line of police that were waiting to take him into custody, officers were able to disarm him, secure the weapon and get Folkner into handcuffs. The defendant was formally charged with two counts of attempted homicide, four counts of aggravated assault, arson and other lesser charges after he was taken into custody. The defense argued that Folkner had been suicidal and had only wanted to hurt himself - not others, including his roommate and the responding officers.

How do you think the police felt when incendiary devices were being thrown at them? Do you think the officers felt as though their lives were in danger as the hostile suspect fired a gun and came at them with a machete?

On Thursday a court handed down the verdict... and it was not at all what prosecutors had hoped and pushed for. Folkner was found guilty on all counts.... except for the attempted homicide charges, of which he was found not guilty. The prosecutors voiced their disappointment over the surprising verdict over the attempted homicide charges.

"We're disappointed with attempted homicide charges dropped but pleased he was found guilty of everything else. The potential sentence he could face will ensure the public's safety," Penetar said.

Folkner remains behind bars in a Pennsylvania correctional facility. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 10. A report from the Lehigh Valley Regional News said that Folkner could now face up to 20 years in prison for his crimes.
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