3 arrested after patrol cars torched outside Ga. officers' homes

The suspects hurled Molotov cocktails at vehicles in two separate instances, police said


Chelsea Prince
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Three people were arrested Wednesday on charges they torched two Gwinnett County officers’ patrol cars, police said. 

The suspects hurled Molotov cocktails in both incidents, which occurred outside the officers’ homes between 10 p.m. and midnight Tuesday, department spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said Thursday in a news release.

Three people have been arrested under suspicion of tossing Molotov cocktails at patrol cars as they were parked outside officers' homes. (Photo/TNS)
Three people have been arrested under suspicion of tossing Molotov cocktails at patrol cars as they were parked outside officers' homes. (Photo/TNS)

In the first incident, someone called 911 to report a patrol car was on fire at an officer’s residence in unincorporated Duluth, according to the release. When Gwinnett firefighters arrived, the blaze was already out.  

In the second incident, a 911 caller reported someone tried to set a patrol car on fire at an officer’s home in unincorporated Lawrenceville, Pihera said. Witnesses reported seeing a dark-colored car leaving the area shortly thereafter. The fire started on the ground behind the car before it was extinguished, according to police. Officers saw two dents on the driver’s side of the car. 

Witness descriptions led police to the suspects, identified as Ebuka Chike-Morah, 21, of Duluth; Alvin Joseph, 21, of Lawrenceville; and Lakaila Mack, 20, of Dacula. An accelerant was found in a vehicle belonging to one of the suspects, Pihera said.

All three were arrested on two counts each of first-degree arson, criminal trespass, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and interference with government property, jail records show. They are also charged with two counts each of possession of an explosive device by a person under indictment or previously convicted of a felony.

Police, however, have not identified the person who threw a brick through another officer’s patrol car early Wednesday morning. The officer went outside his home in unincorporated Lawrenceville about 7:45 a.m. and found the car’s windshield and driver’s side window smashed, Pihera said.

Police vehicles have been burned in Atlanta and Hall County as tensions flare nationwide following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

In Gainesville, one patrol car was burned outside an officer’s home Monday after six others were damaged during a protest, according to police in that city. Five men were arrested in the case about two hours after the damaged car was discovered. 

One of the Gwinnett County suspects spoke with Channel 2 Action News during a protest Saturday at Sugarloaf Mills mall.

“I’m just trying to get the message across,” Chike-Morah told the news station. “We’re going to continue walking until we don’t feel like walking no more.”

He and the other two suspects are being held in the county jail without bond, according to police.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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