NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A woman from the Hudson Valley was charged with the attempted murder of multiple police officers after the NYPD says she threw a Molotov cocktail at the officers as they sat in a marked van during protests in Brooklyn on Friday night—and now authorities say she's facing federal charges along with two Brooklyn residents allegedly involved in a similar attack.
Police said Samantha Shader, a 27-year-old from Catskill, New York, threw a lit Molotov cocktail at an NYPD van with four officers inside near the Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights around 10:40 p.m.
The device smashed a rear window in the van but didn’t ignite, police said, and the officers were unharmed.
The officers got out of the vehicle and took Shader into custody, police said.
As she was being arrested, police said Shader bit an officer in the leg, causing an injury.
She was charged with four counts of the attempted murder of a police officer, as well as assault on a police officer, attempted arson, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment.
"Those officers are lucky to be alive today," NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan told WCBS 880's Joe Avellar. "We apprehended that person and they are going to be prosecuted federally. That's someone not from this community that's going to hopefully be going away to jail for a long time."
While Shader was being taken into custody, police said 21-year-old Darian Shader—reportedly her sister—attempted to interfere with the arrest.
Darian Shader was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York announced Sunday that Samantha Shader, as well as a man and a woman from Brooklyn, would be facing federal charges for separate incidents involving Molotov cocktails.
Bystander video (captured below) showed Shader throwing a Molotov cocktail at the NYPD van occupied by for officers, according to prosecutors, who said she attempted to run away from police but was apprehended and later admitted to throwing the device.
Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, were also arrested early Saturday morning, according to prosecutors.
The pair were taken into custody while “in possession of explosive device components,” prosecutors said in a press release.
An NYPD surveillance camera recorded Rahman tossing a Molotov cocktail at an unoccupied NYPD vehicle parked near the 88th Precinct in Brooklyn before she took off in a minivan driven by Mattis, according to prosecutors.
“The NYPD recovered several precursor items used to build Molotov Cocktails, including a lighter, a bottle filled with toilet paper and a liquid suspected to be gasoline in the vicinity of the passenger seat and a gasoline tank in the rear of the vehicle,” prosecutors said.
If convicted, each of the three face a mandatory-minimum sentence of 5 years and up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
“These defendants are charged with attacking the New York City Police Department while its Police Officers are risking their lives to protect the Constitutional rights of protesters and the safety of us all,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement about the charges. “No rational human being can ever believe that hurling firebombs at Police Officers and vehicles is justified.”
Over 200 protesters were arrested in clashes with the NYPD Friday night. A separate NYPD van was burned in the protests and multiple officer injuries were reported, including an officer who lost a tooth. Hundreds more arrests were made and dozens more vehicles vandalized Saturday night.
Monahan said the violence was orchestrated by out-of-towners.
"This was a very organized attack on police officers that was commited by people not from these communities, not from New York. A lot of outside instigators who were there soley for one reason — to fight the police," Monahan said. "This is out of towners, people not part of the communities, people that are coming in to our neighborhoods, into our communities, and causing mayhem."
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said bricks, brass knuckles and a firearm were recovered from protesters.
The clashes between protesters and the NYPD have led to an independent investigation by New York state Attorney General Letitia James.
The death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in the custody of Minneapolis police, has led to days-long protests in New York City and across the country this week. While many of the protests have remained peaceful, looting and attacks on officers have been reported.