Police in Long Beach, Calif. released horrifying footage of a Molotov cocktail attack in the hopes of catching the culprit.
The footage, which comes from a surveillance camera outside Ranch Market in Long Beach, shows a man emerging from a dark alley Friday evening. He can be seen throwing a bottle at the feet of the victim, who was sitting outside the market. The Molotov cocktail detonates, sparking a fire explosion.
The victim, a 54-year-old man, is set ablaze and runs into the parking lot. Two adults can also be seen dragging a baby stroller from the explosion (the baby escaped uninjured).
"It's a crime that I haven't seen in my time as a law enforcement officer," said Long Beach police Sgt. Aaron Eaton to KTLA. "It's just unbelievable that someone would use that type of weapon against somebody."
Sgt. Eaton also said that the motive is completely unknown, reports NBC LA. "There were no confrontations, no altercations, said Sgt. Eaton to NBC LA. "No words were exchanged. The victim was waiting for his father to get food, minding his own business, when the suspect came from an alley and threw an object at him, a bottle.”
The victim is currently in stable but critical condition at a local hospital.
The suspect was described as a hispanic male between 25 to 30 years old. He is estimated to be 5 feet 9 inches tall and weigh 180 lbs. If anyone has any information about the crime, the Long Beach police can be reached at 562-570-7260.
Molotov cocktails are improvised incendiary weapons, usually small glass bottles filled with flammable liquid and a wick that can be set on fire. The Finns invented the explosives to deploy against Soviet Tanks during during the 1939-40 invasion. The weapon of war still used, to devastating effect, by criminals who want to ignite fires from a relatively far distance.
In October, Arlington County police in Virginia arrested a man suspected of trying to detonate a Molotov cocktail inside the Ballston Commons Mall. He had allegedly dropped it from a walkway overlooking the mall's food court.
Later that month, federal agents began investigating the use of two Molotov cocktails at a fire in Hurst, TX that had been flung at a law firm and oil company.