Arrest in Rich Hill Molotov bottle fight

By Howard Koplowitz

Felipe Velasquez, 21, of 86-23 123rd St. in Richmond Hill, faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted after he was arraigned last Thursday on charges of attempted murder, arson, assault, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon before Queens Criminal Court Judge Joseph Zayas, Brown said.Velazquez attacked Bernard Hoffman, a 45-year-old Brooklyn man, in the back of the head with a machete at around 5:30 p.m. on April 1 near his Richmond Hill home, the DA said.Hoffman suffered a large gash to his head from the attack and was taken to Queens Hospital Center to receive stitches and staples to close the wound.Hoffman allegedly saw Velasquez drop the machete and head into his home, where he started throwing Molotov cocktails from the roof, Brown said.One of the Molotov cocktails hit an unmarked police vehicle belonging to a police officer who arrived at the scene, causing the 2004 Ford Crown Victoria to become engulfed in flames, the DA said.”For several hours, the defendant allegedly held police at bay as he stood on his roof and threw bottles of flammable liquid down onto the street. His alleged actions could have resulted in death for his slashing victim and others,” Brown said in a statement.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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