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Parolee charged with felonies in Molotov cocktail attack

October 25, 2012 |  2:31 pm


A parolee with a lengthy criminal history was charged Thursday with a half-dozen felony counts, including attempted murder, in connection with a Molotov cocktail attack that left a 54-year-old man critically burned in Long Beach.

Jacob Lagarde, 27, is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of attempted murder, explosion with an attempt to murder, explosion causing mayhem or great bodily injury and two arson-related counts. Police have yet to reveal a possible motive.

The Long Beach resident, who authorities said has a history of drug and violent offenses, faces life in prison if convicted on all counts. Lagarde was taken into custody Tuesday night and was described by police as an affiliate of a street gang.

Lagarde is suspected of throwing the firebomb at the man as he sat outside a store in the 200 block of West Pacific Coast Highway on Friday evening, Long Beach police said.

Authorities said the defendant ran up to the victim and threw an object that exploded into a bright ball of flames, according to a surveillance video released by police.

Witnesses told The Times this week that they saw the attacker as he used a cigarette lighter to ignite a bottle with a flammable liquid and toss it toward the victim, who is known as Raul. Authorities have not released his full name.

Raul was engulfed in flames as he ran wildly in the parking lot of the market and bystanders tried to help, according to a relative of the victim.

A relative told The Times the family was pleased an arrest had been made. Police told family members the suspect lived in the same apartment building as the victim, the relative said.

The attack horrified bystanders, who saw the man screaming as flames engulfed his body. The act shocked city officials, who pledged to pursue all leads to find the attacker.


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-- Andrew Blankstein