Gwinnett County, GA – Three people tracked two Georgia law enforcement officers to their homes and set their patrol vehicles on fire using Molotov cocktails on Thursday night.
The first incident occurred outside a home in Duluth sometime after 10 p.m., WSB reported.
Police received a 911 call that a Gwinnett County Police Department car was on fire at that location, but it had successfully been extinguished by the time officers arrived.
Witnesses told police they spotted three black males running away from the scene, WXIA reported.
A short while later, a second 911 caller called police to report that someone tried to set a patrol car on fire in Lawrenceville, according to WSB.
Officers arrived to find a fire burning on the ground behind the cruiser and doused it with a fire extinguisher.
The rioters had also put two dents in the vehicle, WXIA reported.
Witnesses told police that a dark-colored car fled the area after the attack.
“We’re very lucky that they were unsuccessful in starting any fires to our police cars that could cause any significant damage,” Gwinnett Police Department Corporal Michele Pihera told WSB.
Lawrenceville police soon located the suspect vehicle, which was being driven by Alvin Joseph, the Gwinnett Daily Post reported.
Joseph, 21, had also been arrested at a protest at Sugarloaf Mills in Lawrenceville on May 30, after officers used a Taser to subdue him.
He was released from jail hours after his May 30 arrest.
Lakaila Mack, 20, was also riding in Joseph’s car after the firebombing attacks on Thursday.
She was taken in for questioning, and was subsequently arrested, the Gwinnett Daily Post reported.
Investigators from the Gwinnett Arson Unit, the Gwinnett Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives worked throughout the night to locate and apprehend the third suspect, 21-year-old Ebuka Chike-Morah.
Investigators executed search warrants on Chike-Morah’s vehicle and the vehicle Joseph had been driving, and located more accelerant that matched items used for the Molotov cocktails inside one of their cars, the Gwinnett Daily Post reported.
Joseph has been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, interference with government property, and two counts each of possession of tools for the commission of a crime, criminal trespass, possession and manufacturing a destructive device, and first-degree arson, WXIA reported.
Chike-Morah and Mack have been charged with two counts each of interference with government property, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, criminal trespass, possession and manufacturing a destructive device, and first-degree arson.
Police said that the windows of a third patrol vehicle parked outside another officer’s residence near Lawrenceville were found busted out early Wednesday morning, but that incident was not connected to the firebombing attacks, WXIA reported.
A patrol vehicle was torched outside an officer’s home in Gainesville on Monday, and six other Gainesville police cars were damaged during riots in that area, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The rioting comes in the wake of the May 25 in-custody death of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death during his arrest. His charges have since been upgraded to second-degree murder.
On June 3, former Minneapolis Police Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder for their role in Floyd’s arrest.
The officers had responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that Floyd had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.
Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.
The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.
Viral cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.
The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.
Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.
Floyd was pronounced dead 90 minutes later at the hospital.
After three days of violent riots and looting that left Minneapolis and its sister city, St. Paul, in flames, the state investigative agency announced it making an arrest.
Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension four days after the incident and held on a $500,000 bond, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced, according to WCCO.
According to charging documents, the medical examiner’s preliminary report found no physical evidence that Floyd had suffered from asphyxiation or strangulation at the hands of the Minneapolis police.
The preliminary autopsy findings indicated Floyd had died from a combination of his underlying medical problems and possible substances.
“The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,” according to the complaint.
But veteran forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden told reporters on Monday at the Floyd family press conference that his independent autopsy determined that the man had died of asphyxiation much in the same way Eric Garner died from a choke hold in New York in 2014, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The Eric Garner autopsy report showed no damage to any area of his neck, and it was determined that he died of a medical emergency induced by officers who were arresting him.
But the final autopsy findings released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office hours later confirmed that Floyd had died from heart failure.
“Cause of death: Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” Floyd’s autopsy said. “Manner of death: Homicide.”
“How injury occurred: Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s),” the report continued. “Other significant conditions: Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use.”
The toxicology results showing fentanyl and methamphetamine directly contradicted assertions by the forensic pathologist that Floyd’s family’s attorneys hired to dispute the initial medical examiner’s report.
And a postmortem nasal swab showed that Floyd tested positive SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, according to KSTP. He had previously tested positive for COVID-19 in April 3.
Protests erupted in the Twin Cities after Floyd’s death, leaving both Minneapolis and the state’s capital of St. Paul burned, looted, and destroyed.
Rioters overran and torched the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct where the officers accused of Floyd’s homicide were assigned.
Protests spread across the United States, and became very violent in major cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Portland, Oakland, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Washington, DC.