Woman facing federal charges for tossing Molotov cocktail at NYPD van

Two other individuals were charged for possession of explosive device components


Staten Island Advance

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — An upstate New York woman now faces federal charges for allegedly firebombing a police vehicle in Brooklyn, as protests across the country grow increasingly violent following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis nearly a week ago.

Samantha Shader, 27, of Catskill, already had been charged with four counts of attempted murder, as well as attempted arson, assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.

Shader has now been charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York with using an improvised incendiary device to damage or destroy a NYPD vehicle, the Brooklyn court said Sunday.

A video taken Friday night by a witness captured the 27-year-old Shader lighting a Molotov cocktail and throwing it at a police vehicle occupied by four officers in Crown Heights, shattering two of its windows. The device reportedly did not explode and all of the officers escaped.

“Molotov Cocktails are violent tools of individuals looking to inflict harm and damage our city,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot F. Shea said in a statement. “Crimes like these are devastating to their targets and also to the protestors and their right to free speech that police are working hard to protect.”

Officers pursued Shader as she attempted to flee and apprehended her. The criminal complaint said she later admitted in a statement to police that she had thrown the Molotov cocktail.

Her younger sister, Darian Shader, 21, was also taken into custody after trying to intervene in the arrest. She has been charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of justice and will be prosecuted by the Brooklyn District Attorney, but does not face federal charges, WABC reported.

A separate complaint filed in federal court charges a man and a woman, Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, both of Brooklyn, with possession of explosive device components.

An NYPD surveillance camera purportedly recorded Rahman tossing a Molotov cocktail at an unoccupied NYPD vehicle parked near the 88th Precinct in Brooklyn and then fleeing in a tan minivan. 

Officers pursued the van and arrested Rahman and Mattis, who was the driver.  The NYPD recovered several items used to build Molotov cocktails, including a lighter, a bottle filled with toilet paper, and a liquid suspected to be gasoline in the passenger seat, and a gasoline tank in the rear of the vehicle, according to the complaint.

“These defendants are charged with attacking the New York City Police Department while its Police Officers are risking their lives to protect the Constitutional rights of protesters and the safety of us all,” U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement. “No rational human being can ever believe that hurling firebombs at Police Officers and vehicles is justified."

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney added: “When you conduct a violent attack that breaks federal law, the FBI New York office, along with our NYPD and Department of Justice partners, will move with speed to hold you accountable. Behavior like the attacks charged here puts our entire community -- protesters and first responders alike -- in danger, and we will simply not allow it to go unaddressed.”

Social media users, including former NYPD Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik, who oversaw the city’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, have alleged that Samantha Shader is a member of the militant left-wing, anti-fascist group Antifa. Authorities have not commented on those claims.

A separate complaint filed in federal court charges a man and a woman, Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, both of Brooklyn, with possession of explosive device components.

An NYPD surveillance camera purportedly recorded Rahman tossing a Molotov cocktail at an unoccupied NYPD vehicle parked near the 88th Precinct in Brooklyn and then fleeing in a tan minivan. 

Officers pursued the van and arrested Rahman and Mattis, who was the driver.  The NYPD recovered several items used to build Molotov cocktails, including a lighter, a bottle filled with toilet paper, and a liquid suspected to be gasoline in the passenger seat, and a gasoline tank in the rear of the vehicle, according to the complaint.

“These defendants are charged with attacking the New York City Police Department while its Police Officers are risking their lives to protect the Constitutional rights of protesters and the safety of us all,” U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement. “No rational human being can ever believe that hurling firebombs at Police Officers and vehicles is justified."

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney added: “When you conduct a violent attack that breaks federal law, the FBI New York office, along with our NYPD and Department of Justice partners, will move with speed to hold you accountable. Behavior like the attacks charged here puts our entire community -- protesters and first responders alike -- in danger, and we will simply not allow it to go unaddressed.”

Social media users, including former NYPD Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik, who oversaw the city’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, have alleged that Samantha Shader is a member of the militant left-wing, anti-fascist group Antifa. Authorities have not commented on those claims.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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