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Suspect Arrested in Long Beach Fire Bomb Attack

A man was severely burned after a stranger tossed a Molotov cocktail at him outside a market as he waited for his father. Long Beach police said a motive for the attack remains elusive.

A suspect with gang ties was arrested in the Long Beach burning of a man outside a market, but police said Wednesday they still don't know why the suspect allegedly tossed a Molotov cocktail.

The Long Beach Police Department announced the Tuesday night capture of 27-year-old Jacob Lagarde of Long Beach, who was arrested and booked for attempted murder, mayhem, possession of an explosive, arson causing great bodily injury, and for a probation violation. He is being held at the Long Beach City Jail without bail.

"Suspect Lagarde affiliates with an out of town gang and has an extensive criminal record," Long Beach police spokeswoman Nancy Pratt wrote in an e-mailed press release.

Sometime after detectives released a graphic YouTube video to the media that had captured the disturbing attack in which a 54-year-old man was set on fire, the police got a tip that led them to the arrest, they said.

The tip took them to an apartment complex in the 7800 block of E. Spring Street, near El Dorado Park, Tuesday night, where Lagarde was taken into custody after briefly fleeing, Pratt said. 

Police had said Tuesday night that a parole violator had been arrested but that the arrest was not linked to the Molotov cocktail attack, which left the victim still hospitalized with serious burns. The victim has not been named.

But the suspect and victim lived in the same apartment building, according to the victim's famil, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Click here to read more about the Friday fire-bombing attack.

At a 4 p.m. news conference, new details of the arrest were shared. But a motive for the attack still eludes detectives.

The bizarre attack of a man sitting in front of a market in the 200 block of West Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach produced security video footage of the attack, and has been widely seen, perhaps globally, since the Long Beach Police Department released it Sunday night, asking for the public's help in identifying and locating the suspect. That person is captured in the grainy footage.

In the video, a man can be seen carrying a glowing object before a person sitting on the ground outside a market is engulfed in flames. Long Beach Police say the victim was outside the store in the 200 block of Pacific Coast Highway Friday night, waiting outside or his father.

A figure can be seen running toward a parking lot, continuing to burn as bystanders go to rescue him, eventually putting out the flames. Police say the man was hospitalized in critical but stable condition, with most of his burns on his lower body.

Patch will follow this story as it develops.

Nancy Wride October 25, 2012 at 08:17 AM
Ruben and Robert got some really good detail from witnesses and a hint of potential motive in the mention that the suspect lived in the same apartment building as did the victim.
Mark Nevin October 25, 2012 at 08:36 AM
Excellent response by bystanders/heroes in saving this mans life.
Lori Loucks October 25, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Mike Ruehle, just once I wish you would write something other than your immature, boring ranting about the LBPD.
Mike Ruehle October 25, 2012 at 11:05 PM
If you had read about the many cases of Long Beach Police Department getting a conviction in court and later having the conviction overturned because the cops were found to have been lying, you too might be as untrusting as me. But I guess all some people want to think about is fuzzy bunnies.
John B. Greet October 26, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Being untrusting is one thing, Ruehle. Rarely, if ever, having a positive, constructive, or -heaven forbid- appreciative thing to say about the really good police work that LBPD provides us every day and night, all year long, year in and year out, is quite another. When police commit misconduct it is wrong and, when proven, should always be properly punished, but incessantly beating our good cops over the head with the bad conduct of a comparative few, is not what I would consider to be either fair or just. The vast majority of our cops consistently do amazing work in and for our community, particularly given the severe attrition of their ranks and the significant reduction of their budget.

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