Fireworks plus alcohol can lead to a lot of strange July 4 arrests.
After the July 4th celebrations, Orlando bike cops were clearing out downtown bars of revelers. As they were in the process of arresting one man, they were suddenly bombarded by a fireworks attack.
The three bike cops had to dodge a series of flaming green projectiles aimed at them. The man they were trying to arrest also had to find safety, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
When things settled down, the bike cops approached a van that appeared to be the source of the fireworks attack. Officers found the fireworks, but whoever set it off was long gone.
With the help of a witness, police were able to track down 37-year-old Khasim Stephenson as the suspected culprit. Stephenson actually admitted to setting off the fireworks, but had conflicting stories as to why. First, Stephenson said he set off the fireworks because he was startled when police pointed their guns at him. When he was told that the police didn't have their guns on him, Stephenson changed his story and said that he lit the fireworks and had nowhere to set them off (but at the cops).
Given that a firework is basically a bomb, Stephenson has been charged with attempted second degree murder of a law enforcement officer. This is a very serious offense, especially so given that the intended victims were cops. Stephenson could face life imprisonment for the fireworks attack even though he didn't injure anyone.
Of note, the July 4th arrests also included two of Stephenson's friends who allegedly threatened to shoot the witness who helped lead police to Stephenson.
- Police: Man shot fireworks at 3 Orlando officers (The Associated Press)
- Khasim Stephenson Allegedly Shoots Fireworks At Cops, Charged With Attempted Murder (Huffington Post)
- Small Town Murders Up, Overall US Violence Down (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Florida Woman Doused With Gas, Set on Fire (FindLaw's Blotter)