Two sisters have been arrested after a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a NYPD van with four officers inside. Samantha Shader, 27, of Catskill, NY, is charged with throwing the incendiary device, which did not explode. Her sister, Darian, 21, (left) then allegedly tried to stop the arrest of Samantha Shader. The police have hit Samantha Shader with a slew of major charges including attempted murder of a police officer, attempted arson, assault on a police officer, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment. Her sister faces charges of resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration. (The Daily Mail has released these pictures from social media allegedly showing the two sisters). Update: Media is reporting that Shader admitted to her attack on the police. The police have released a picture of Shader throwing the Molotov cocktail.
Police say that Samantha Shader threw the device through a rear window of the van. She then allegedly bit an officer on the leg as they struggled to arrest her. When her sister attempted to intervene, she was also arrested.
“the intended victim was a police officer as defined in subdivision 34 of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law who was at the time of the killing engaged in the course of performing his official duties, and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the intended victim was a police officer.”
This would appear therefore an attempted murder in the first degree.
The best defense would be to challenge either the allegation that she threw the device or that the device was actually explosive or flammable. A mental capacity defense is often hard to make out with there is preplanning or pre-construction of an explosive device.
It is hard to imagine any prosecutor bargaining down this charge since, if true, there would have been four officers burned to death if the device actually went off. Unless the device did not contain a flammable or explosive liquid, Shader is looking at serious time if convicted. For a Class A felony, the maximum term is life imprisonment. Even a Class B felony includes up to 25 years in prison.
Even if a life sentence is not sought, an effective life sentence can be achieved in such a case if the prosecutors count stack or ask for non-concurrent (or consecutive) sentencing.
Update: Others have been arrested for alleged firebombing attacks. In the second case, Urooj Raman tossed a Molotov cocktail into the NYPD vehicle and then jumped into a minivan. He and the driver Colinford Mattis, 32, were arrested and both are Brooklyn residents.
Here is the photo that accompanied the police affidavit: