NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The FBI arrested a Brooklyn Man in connection with a deadly package explosion last summer in Queens.
Victor Kingsley, 37, was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn. The deadly blast happened back 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.
Officials believe Kingsley intended for the improvised explosive device to exact revenge against an NYPD officer who had previously arrested him for possession of a stun-gun.
“George Wray was not the intended target of the IED,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said in a Wednesday press conference. “We believe the IED was retaliatory for an arrest of Kingsley in January of 2014.”
Kingsley thought the officer lived at the home on 222nd Street, according to Boyce.
The suspect, who police say lives with his mother, has since been transferred to a hospital due to high blood pressure concerns.
“She prays with everyone, she greets everyone,” neighbor Louise Joseph told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes. “I can’t even imagine something like that going on in her house.”
The criminal complaint filed Wednesday alleges Kingsley bought bomb-making supplies on Amazon, including a wireless remote control fireworks firing system. He allegedly looked up the officer’s address online and left the package bomb outside what he thought was the officer’s Springfield Gardens home.
“I heard a loud explosion and it shook the house,” resident Rick Thomas said, describing the explosion in August.
Cellphone video taken immediately after the blast that showed Wray 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.
“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 said 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.
Investigators found a single pipe bomb, in addition to empty cylinders and chemical components which could be fashioned into a bomb inside Kingsleys home while carrying out a federal search warrant Wednesday, sources told CBS2.
The devices found didn’t appear to be active, according to sources.
High school classmate Terry Johnson remembers Kingsley as anti-social.
“My heart hurts, man,” he said. “He was a pretty good guy.”
As for Wray’s wife, she said she was grateful for an arrest.
“Hopefully it’s the right person, but I’m happy,” she told CBS2. “I’ve been in touch with the detectives and they told me they were working on it.”
Kingsley was due to be arraigned Thursday in Eastern District Court in Brooklyn and was facing multiple charges including using a weapon of mass destruction and unlawful transportation of explosive materials. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Police previously released a sketch of a person of interest in the case. He was described as a black man between the ages of 30 and 35, 5’11” tall and 160 pounds with a mustache.