Search Continues For Person Of Interest In Deadly Queens Package Explosion

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The search continues for a person of interest in connection with a deadly package explosion in Queens last month.

Investigators released a sketch of the person of interest late Wednesday.

queens exploding package suspect sketch Search Continues For Person Of Interest In Deadly Queens Package Explosion

The hunt continues for the person who allegedly left a mysterious package which exploded and killed a 73-year-old man on the porch of a home in Queens last week. 
Late Wednesday, the NYPD released a sketch depicting person of interest wanted in connection to the homicide. (credit: NYPD)

Police said the explosion happened on July 28 when the victim, 73-year-old landlord George Wray, opened a package that had been planted on the front step of a home on 222nd Street in Springfield Gardens.

“I heard a loud explosion and it shook the house,” said resident Rick Thomas.

Neighbors took cellphone video immediately after the blast that shows Wray is doubled over in pain. In an effort to help, neighbors threw wet towels on Wray who was clearly suffering.

“I saw a man, lying in the grass and he was actually on his knees and he was on fire,” Thomas said. “He was screaming out in pain, lot of pain, because the flames engulfed his whole top half.”

“He was burned all over his body from head to toe,” neighbor Audrice Campbell said.

First responders rushed him to the hospital with second-degree burns covering 80 percent of his body, but he did not survive his injuries.

Police don’t believe Wray was the intended target, but have identified a man who they believe was, although they are not releasing his name, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.

Investigators say he did not live at the home where the package exploded and are still working on a motive in the case.

“He was a nice man… and to have that happen to him, I don’t understand why,” neighbor Steve Weir said. “Anyone that would do that randomly to somebody and it results in somebody’s death, you don’t know what’s on their mind. And they may do it again.”

Police say the package was not delivered by U.S. Mail but was dropped off at the address by hand.

Meanwhile, tenants living there have been left without answers.

“I don’t think they were trying to target me because the name wasn’t my name. It wasn’t anyone’s name there, that’s why it’s rather fishy,” one man said.

“Hoping and praying that they find who did this cause it was heartless,” another woman said.

Police describe the person of interest as a black man between the ages of 30 and 35, 5’11” tall and 160 pounds with a mustache.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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