The suspect allegedly responsible for a deadly bombing outside a Springfield Gardens home last summer faces federal charges of using a weapon of mass destruction, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.
Federal agents said that Victor Kingsley, 37, of Brooklyn left the improvised explosive device outside a home in the area of 222nd Street and 145th Road on the afternoon of July 28, 2017. According to U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, it was part of Kingsley’s alleged plot to bomb the homes of police officers in retaliation for a previous arrest.
But no officers resided at the Springfield Gardens home. Homeowner George Wray, 73, wound up being killed when the device — contained in a cylinder that, police said, was about the size of a Quaker Oats can — went off at his doorstep.
“As alleged in the complaint, Kingsley used an improvised explosive device in an attempt to target an NYPD officer, and he killed an innocent civilian in the process,” said Donoghue, who credited the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force — which includes the NYPD and Queens District Attorney’s office — for cracking the bombing case.
Federal prosecutors said that the NYPD arrested Kingsley back in 2014, and even though the charges were eventually dropped, he nonetheless sought revenge against the officers involved. As part of his plot, authorities said, he used internet search engines to find what he believed were the officers’ homes.
Shopping through online retailers, authorities noted, Kingsley also allegedly purchased various components needed to make explosive devices that were ultimately delivered to his Brooklyn residence.
After identifying the Springfield Gardens home as one of the officers’ purported residence, federal agents said, Kingsley arranged for one of the devices to be placed at the front steps. At about 4 p.m. on July 28, police said, Wray stepped outside the home and picked up the package, which exploded when he tried to open it.
Officers from the 105th Precinct and EMS units responded to 911 calls about the blast. Wray, who suffered second- and third-degree burns over 80 percent of his body, died of his injuries on Aug. 1.
“Kingsley’s cowardly act was meant to target a New York City police officer for doing his job and resulted in the tragic death of an unintended victim,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “This was a case where the NYPD Detective Bureau, Intelligence Bureau and FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force combined their expertise and unique talents to find a needle in a haystack — the clues that would lead to the identification of a bomber who went to great lengths to remain hidden.”
Cops tracked Kingsley down through, among other means, his IP address, which was linked to a Facebook page for “Vei King,” the vanity name for an account called “The God Named King.” The Facebook account was registered to a Yahoo email account belonging to Kingsley.
Kingsley is expected to be arraigned in Brooklyn federal court on March 1. He faces life in prison if convicted.