A suspect caught on video throwing a Molotov cocktail at an unsuspecting bystander was arrested October 23rd in Long Beach. 27-year-old Jacob Lagarde is currently detained at the Long Beach City Jail after extensive media coverage led to an individual contacting investigators about the crime.
The Long Beach Police and Fire Department first responded to the 200 block of West Pacific Coast Highway because of a report of a possible structural fire at a local market. When authorities arrived, a witness told officers that the suspect had ignited a bottle of flammable liquid and thrown it at the 54-year-old victim before fleeing on foot.
Upon contact with the Molotov cocktail, the victim’s clothes immediately caught on fire, causing him to run toward the parking lot. People in the area immediately rushed to the victim’s aid and were able to extinguish the flames. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of critical burns to his body, and remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
The following is a link to a YouTube video that Long Beach police released showing the attack:
After the informant’s tip, detectives were led to a residential complex on the 7800 block of East Spring Road, where they were able to arrest and identify Lagarde. After his arrest, police learned that Lagarde belongs to an out-of-town gang and has an extensive criminal record.
Lagarde is being charged with attempted murder, mayhem, possession of an explosive, arson causing great bodily injury, and probation violation. Investigators are still trying to determine a motive.
The Long Beach Police Department originally told the media that they were arresting a completely different suspect regarding a probation violation and not the person responsible for the attempted murder. According to Sgt. Aaron Eaton of the LBPD, “because of the complex and unusual investigation…everything went into fast mode” when they arrested Lagarde and they decided not to reveal his arrest until after the October 24th press conference.
In a press release, the Long Beach Police Department thanked the media’s extended news coverage of the incident and the community for the willingness to assist in the investigation. As of the time of this writing, the video that the LBPD posted of the incident has received over 23,000 views on YouTube, with many more views coming from its broadcast on local television stations.
Sgt. Eaton attributes the decision to show the video of the incident to the public to the “seriousness of the offense.” The LBPD also wanted to highlight the heroics of those who assisted the victim in putting out the flames.
Anyone who may have witnessed this incident who has not yet spoken with detectives is urged to call the Long Beach Fire Department’s Arson Hotline at (562) 570-2582. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 1 (800) 222-TIPS, texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES, or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.
LA Times: Suspect held in fiery attack on man
Press-Telegram: Long Beach arson suspect who set man ablaze behind bars
Belmont Shore-Naples Patch: Suspect Arrested in Long Beach Fire Bomb Attack