February 28, 2018
Defendant Killed a Man in Queens with a Destructive Device in Plot to Target NYPD Officers
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, a complaint was unsealed charging Victor Kingsley, a Brooklyn resident, with using a weapon of mass destruction that resulted in the death of a Queens resident in July 2017, and with the unlawful transportation of explosive materials. Kingsley used the explosive device in an apparent effort to target New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers. Kingsley is scheduled to make his initial appearance tomorrow afternoon at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn before United States Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and James P. O'Neill, Commissioner, NYPD, announced the charges.
"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," stated United States Attorney Donoghue. "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." Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which comprises a large number of federal, state and local agencies from the region, the NYPD and the Queen's County District Attorney's Office.
"There is no place in civil society for the spreading of fear through intimidation, violence and destruction," stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. "I commend the work of the joint FBI-NYPD investigative team for its determination and complete collaboration in bringing this accused criminal to justice."
"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 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—the clues that would lead to the identification of a bomber who went to great lengths to remain hidden."
As alleged in the complaint, Kingsley built the explosive device used in the July 28, 2017 murder as part of his broader effort to retaliate violently against several police officers who were part of an NYPD unit that had arrested him in January 2014. Despite the case against him having eventually been dismissed, Kingsley methodically sought revenge against the officers. He conducted internet searches and made telephone calls to determine the locations of the officers' residences. He also accumulated explosive device components via online purchases made through Amazon, which he had delivered to his house in Brooklyn. Ultimately, he arranged for the explosive device to be placed outside of the Queens residence where Kingsley mistakenly believed one of his target officers resided. The building owner inadvertently detonated the device when he tried to open it, and he died as a result of his injuries.
Thereafter, Kingsley continued to acquire explosive device parts. According to Amazon purchase records, he placed additional orders for explosive device components as recently as earlier this month.
If convicted, Kingsley could face a maximum sentence of life in prison. The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government's case is being prosecuted by the office's National Security & Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorney Margaret Lee is in charge of the prosecution with assistance from Trial Attorney Jacqueline L. Barkett of the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division.