NEW YORK – A man who wanted to take revenge on police with homemade bombs planted a device at a wrong address, resulting in an explosion that killed an innocent landlord there, authorities said Wednesday in announcing the man's arrest.
Prosecutors allege Victor Kingsley was seeking to retaliate against New York police officers who had arrested him in 2014 for weapon possessions and other charges that were later dropped.
A package with one of the officer's names on it — rigged to explode when someone opened it — was mistakenly placed last year at the door of the Queens home owned by George Wray, authorities said at a briefing outside Kingsley's home as it was being searched. Wray unwittingly detonated it, causing severe burns that killed him a few days later.
Wray, 73, "was an unintended and innocent victim of this cowardly attack," said John Miller, a deputy police commissioner. "He died a violent and extraordinarily painful death."
After the deadly blast, investigators combed internet records and cellphone records to identify Kingsley, also discovering that he had been researching how to locate the arresting officers, authorities said. The records showed he bought potassium chlorate, aluminum metal and other homemade bomb ingredients, purchases that continued after Wray's death had made news, they said.
Kingsley, 37, was awaiting an initial court appearance on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn. The name of his attorney wasn't immediately available.
He faces a possible term of life in prison if convicted of charges of using a weapon of mass destruction and illegal transport of explosives.
This story has been corrected to show Wray was the owner of the house where the device was left, not a resident there.