By Naeisha Rose
A joint investigative team comprised of the FBI and the NYPD arrested a suspect last week in the July murder of an elderly Springfield Gardens man who was killed by a bomb in a package.
Victor Kingsley, 37, of Brooklyn was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, the unlawful transportation of explosive materials, and the murder of Queens resident George Wray, according to an indictment.
“This office and our law enforcement partners will use every tool at our disposal to bring to justice those who endanger the community through acts of senseless violence,” the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Attorney Richard Donoghue.
On the afternoon of July 28, 2017 Wray, 73, opened a package that was left on his porch. It proceeded to explode and burnt him on his head, torso and legs, according to the NYPD. He was later taken by EMS to Nassau University Medical Center, but by Aug. 1 he had succumbed to his injuries, which included second- and third-degree burns.
Days after Wray’s death, Inspector Jeffrey Schiff of the 105th Precinct announced at a town hall meeting in Springfield Gardens that the bomber addressed the package to someone named “Mac.”
Kingsley allegedly sent a homemade bomb that consisted of black powder, a nine-volt battery, clothespin, potassium chlorate and aluminum, according to authorities.
After piecing together clues, investigators were able to determine that the package was meant for an NYPD cop who arrested Kingsley in a January 2014 weapons possession case that was dismissed, according to the indictment.
“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.
In the indictment, Kingsley was accused of methodically conducting online searches and making telephone calls to determine the location of the officer’s residence.
The joint task force traced purchases he allegedly made online through Amazon to acquire the materials for the bomb, which he had delivered from his house in East Flatbush to Wray’s Springfield Gardens’ home.
Investigators believe Wray’s death was a case of mistaken identity and the target was the arresting officer in Kingsley’s 2014 case.
If convicted, Kingsley will face the maximum sentence of life in prison.
“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,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “This was a case where the NYPD Detective Bureau, Intelligence Bureau, and FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorist Task Force combined their expertise and unique talents to find a needle in a haystack.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose