NYPD Makes Arrest In Weekend Firebombing Spree

Man Facing 5 Counts Of Arson, 1 Count Of Arson As A Hate Crime, Among Others

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An arrest was made Tuesday night following an investigation into at least four firebombing incidents in Queens, and a fifth on Long Island, that took place over the weekend.

Police have charged Ray Lazier Lengend of 89-04 215 St., in Queens Village with five counts of criminal possession of a weapon, four counts of arson and one count of arson as a hate crime.

Lengend, 40, was brought out of the 103rd Precinct on Tuesday night in handcuffs and mumbling as he was led to a waiting ambulance, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis. There was no official explanation why Lengend was taken away by ambulance.

The arrest puts and end to a tense investigation that initially looked like it had a confession. However, as CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reported, police later clarified by saying their suspect had made incriminating statements that implicated him in the arson attacks. However, the district attorney’s investigators and detectives believed his statements were  rambling and still had to be confirmed.

Police were able to move on the man they considered a suspect as fast as they did because of what they picked up from surveillance cameras and from what workers in the deli where workers told police about the suspect. They said they had thrown him out twice for shoplifting, so police had a sketch.

Police also knew they were looking for a silver car with Virginia plates. Detectives from the 103rd Precinct made the car late Monday in an area around 207th and Hillside in Jamaica, Queens and staked it out till just before 8 a.m. Tuesday, when a man came to the car. The 40-year-old was cuffed before he got in.

“I’m optimistic this is going to lead to a successful conclusion,” Kelly told Guzman on Tuesday afternoon.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports

The suspect has a history of substance abuse problems, and may have been acting out of rage, sources said. His arrest sheet goes back 10 years, sources added, mostly for petty narcotics charges.

“We gotta find out what happened here, but regardless, you’re only as safe as tomorrow,” Mayor Mike Bloomberg said.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman Reports On The Confession

“This is a heinous type of crime, particularly with people sleeping in their homes,” Kelly said.

“Crimes of this nature will never be tolerated in Queens,” said District Attorney Richard Brown.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and religious leaders gather to denounce the spree of firebombings - Queens, NY - Jan 3, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and religious leaders gather to denounce the spree of firebombings - Queens, NY - Jan 3, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

“This is a very sad day for Queens,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. “This can not be tolerated.”

Four of Sunday night’s attacks occurred within two hours of each other and took place in Jamaica. They were all within just two miles of each other. Targets included a mosque and a home which houses a Hindu temple.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams With Community Reaction To The Bombings

rma 3 2011 NYPD Makes Arrest In Weekend Firebombing Spree

Police released this sketch in the Molotov cocktail attacks. (credit: NYPD)

Bloomberg met Tuesday morning with the leaders of the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center, which was targeted in one of the attacks. Bloomberg was joined by religious and community leaders in denouncing the attacks.

Ramesh Mahara owns one of the homes that was attacked, where he is also the priest at the Hindu temple inside. He said he was counting his blessings after the attack.

“It fell short of the house. Short of the house, and short of the steps,” Mahara said. “I have nothing against anybody, and I don’t think anybody should have anything against me.”

Ahmed Abdulla owns the first place that was struck, a deli on Hillside Avenue.

“Somebody came through here and they have a bottle… something in it,” Abdulla said, adding that the person threw it into the kitchen.

Classes at the Al-Khoie Islamic Center, which was hit, resumed Tuesday.

“We’re going to address [the students] and address any concerns they may have,” said Syed Messam Razvi. “Of course, this is something very much out of the ordinary.”

Please stay with CBSNewYork.com for more on this developing story.

What do you make of the firebomb attacks? Sound off in our comments section below.

  • Santa Claus

    A blackie being charged with a bias crime? That’s a new one.

    What’s next? A jew dressed as me?

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    thank god they caught this person now the city and its mayor can get back to supporting men interested in other mens rectums

  • sandbaggin

    interesting off-season conditioning program, C.C. Sabathia!

  • bullett

    I hear that Lengend was upset because no one served ham hocks at their soup kitchens.

  • Joe Bananas

    A black guy attacking Muslims and Hindus…hmmm, I am sure the media will find some white guy to blame momentarily…

    • Amtracmarine


  • sjay

    People from New York remind me what I think happens to my poop when I flush the toilet, and I live near the midwest.

    • THE QUEEN!

      Yes, how would you know what happens to poop when you flush it in the toilet. More intelligently, NYC is the world’s financial center. You better care what happens here because it will affect what happens THERE. THERE being the midwest. If you are not on the coast, don’t boast. RESPECT.

      • LiberalsRDopes

        Hey queen. I live here. And the liberals will make this place detroit soon. So shut your yap….

    • Att. Hoar

      Please enlighten us Sjay….what does happen to your poop?

  • gotacomment

    He firebombed (or tried to) the deli because he got pinched for shoplifting there twice and the mosque because he wasn’t allowed to use their bathrooms. Whatever his motives for the two houses in Queens and the one in Elmont were I don’t know.



    • Att. Hoar

      Did you go to town yet?

  • Ellen

    So the guy isn’t an American citizen. Does that mean he will be deported?

  • Rabbi Michael Weisser

    I seems pretty clear to me that the hightened anti-Islamic rhetoric to which we as a nation and a community have been subjected can motivate people on the fringes to act out what they hear and believe. Representative King and his ongoing attacks on Muslims is an example of this. I believe that we as a society must aggressively work to build bridges of understanding between the groups of our people that make up the wonderful mosaic that is America. We are all a part of the human family and that is really the bottom line. Let’s get on track to a culture of peace, respect, love, tolerance and non-harmful. It’s the only agenda that cann possibly work.

    • bullett

      Rabbi, after 9-11 I can no longer look at a middle easterner with trust!

    • The Facts

      Congressman King has not attacked all Muslims. He has investigated the extremests within that community that wish us all harm.

      • Linda

        Congressman King is doing an excellent job in trying to keep our Country safe, if ANYONE has a problem with this go back to your own country. I am tired of these people coming to America, bringing their ill-conceived idiot “rules” with them and expect Americans to cow-tow to them. This is AMERICA not your terrorist psycho country so, assimminate to American laws and rules and stop trying to change our Country into the crap you left. GOD BLESS AMERICA !!!

        • ED young

          You call that an excellent job, where he is obsessed with muslims and blurting out anti muslim rhetoric. This is not how you keep the country safe, when you start spreading hatred then no peace can come anywhere.
          US foreigh policy and the CIA are the catalysts for all terrorism happening int he muslim world.

        • Whiff Mahrump

          You tell em’ Linda, make em’ smell your big fat ass.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Bloomberg marries men interested in other mens rectums and that is a crime.I wonder why Kelly does not do something

    • Glenn

      You seem to be an authority on other men’s rectums……………..is that from experience or are you just an @-hole?

      • Glenn


        • Ellen

          Glenn, I don’t know who that other Ellen is. I run into her every once in a while on the CBS site no matter here or in Boston. I don’t talk like that, and believe me I can’t understand why CBS can’t rectify this rather confusing situation.

          • Ellen


          • DanTe

            It’s just that same little boy with a fixation on CO C K and AN U S.
            He drools a bit and still lives with mommy.
            No one ever listens to him, so he always copy other people’s names.

      • Ellen

        Good one Glenn. That guy post the same thing over and over again. Like I said, Good post Glenn.

        • Ellen


  • M.

    So is this not considered a terrorist attack on house of worship that had 100 people praying? Or is it an “arson attack” since its only a mosque and not another house of worship?

    • Amtracmarine

      Why a terrorist attack M?? At best it’s a Hate crime along with the arson charge.When they burned the cars in Midwood and swastikas were painted
      Synagogues it was only considered a hate crime.. Why would this be different?? Sorry

    • Devino

      A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French (mosquée), from Portuguese (mesquita), from Spanish (mezquita), and from Berber (tamezgida), ultimately originating in Arabic: masjid مسجد‎ — Arabic pronunciation: [ˈmæsdʒɪd].[1] The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration. The word “mosque” in English refers to all types of buildings dedicated for Islamic worship, although there is a distinction in Arabic between the smaller masjid dedicated for the daily five prayers and the larger masjid jāmi (مسجد جامع) where the daily five prayers and the Friday congregation sermons are held with a high volume of attendance

  • DeWitt Clinton

    So why isn’t Bloomberg condemning petrol (gasoline) and bottles from Starbucks in this attack as he does guns? I think that Bloomberg should propose an extensive background check, a $500 permit and application fee and strict enforcement to buy petrol. Only those that can show a particular need, should be allowed to buy the petrol in containers detached from the gas tank of the car. i.e Jerry jugs.

  • venomseo
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