NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An incident in which a man threw a Molotov cocktail at a group of men Friday in Manhattan has been ruled out as a hate crime, police sources said.
The attack happened around 1:30 p.m. Friday in front of 356 W. 37th St. in Hell’s Kitchen.
Police sources told CBS2 the location is a storage facility for food carts. The owner of the garage found the suspect sitting on a bench outside and informed him it was a private bench, police said. They then got into an argument, and the suspect pushed the garage owner, who then threw his coffee on the man, according to police.
The suspect then allegedly said, “I’m going to come back with a knife and kill you,” before walking away.
Later, two Hasidic Jewish men approached the garage owner, who was sitting on the bench, and asked to use his cellphone. That was when the suspect returned and tossed a Snapple bottle with liquid inside at the men, cops said. It crashed to the ground three feet away and started a small fire, police said. No one was hurt.
Police sources say the Jewish men were not intentionally targeted. The garage owner is Middle Eastern, but cops do not believe his ethnicity had anything to do with the original argument or the Molotov cocktail attack.
Police have located surveillance video of the suspect purchasing rubbing alcohol, believed to have been used to make the gas bomb.
Witnesses told police the man appeared to be intoxicated.
Police are asking anyone with information about the suspect to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-8477 or to submit a tip online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com. All communications are kept confidential.