Police are looking for help finding a suspect who is seen throwing a Molotov cocktail into a Brooklyn store in graphic surveillance video. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
A Molotov cocktail hit the counter of a Brooklyn store and exploded, catching merchandise and the 34-year-old clerk on fire.
Fidel Perez was stocking shelves and heard the explosion. He didn't hear the argument that police say happened more than a half hour before hand.
Investigators believe the man seen above started a fight with the clerk, then came back just before 2 a.m. Wednesday, lit the homemade bomb in a bottle, threw it in "24 hour Minimart" and then tripped while running away.
Inside, the clerk, who's named Alee, ripped off his sweatshirt, which caught fire, while his co-worker, Perez, grabbed bottles of water to douse the flames.
Nearby business owners, residents and regulars were stunned by the video and what happened.
"Wow. They're such nice guys too, man," said Ramon Rivera, who owns the store next door. "It's just a shame because we own a business right here as well, so just unfortunate what's going on. But you do have some element of guys hanging out."
"It's devastating how this can happen in our neighborhood," said one person in the neighborhood. "It's strange. What are you going to do? The guy works hard, seven days a week, overnight, nonstop, and you get people like that try to take him out."
"Scary, because this always used to be a very, very safe neighborhood," said another. "We never would think something like that would happen here."
Perez's quick thinking may have helped keep the clerks burns to mostly just his hair and prevented the fire from causing more damage than just singeing some merchandise.
"People live upstairs. We didn't hear the noise, so that's the crazy part," said one resident.
The families who live above the store are thankful it wasn't worse.
"And then there's kids. There's a lot of kids upstairs," said one resident. "We have six kids living upstairs."
Residents were surprised that someone would have the nerve to do this with eight surveillance cameras inside and outside the store.