Police in Daytona Beach say somebody threw a Molotov cocktail into an unoccupied patrol car Sunday, destroying the vehicle.
Police said it happened about 2 a.m. in the 300 block of Keech Street.
The car was outside a mosque for the duration of Ramadan when the incendiary device was thrown at it.
A note referencing the police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the Black Lives Matter movement was found nearby. – WESH
The Daytona Beach Police Department may have been the target of anti-police backlash early Sunday morning when someone firebombed an unoccupied squad car parked in front of a mosque and left a note on the destroyed vehicle attributing the act to Black Lives Matter.
According to Police Chief Mike Chitwood, the incident took place about 2 a.m. That’s when someone set fire to the cruiser parked outside the Islamic Center at 347 S. Keech St. The vehicle was engulfed in flames and destroyed.
Chitwood said police found a note on the car that read “Black Lives Matter A. Sterling P. Castile (Expletive removed) the police.”
It was not yet clear exactly what was used to burn the vehicle, but Chitwood said he assumes the culprits used a Molotov cocktail. He said the firebombing caused more than $20,000 in damage to the vehicle.
Imam Belal Alzuhiry Shemman, the Islamic Center’s religious leader, could not be reached.
One resident who lives in the area and asked not to be identified said via email that by the time fire units arrived the car was already in flames.
“We were in bed and I heard a ‘boom’ noise. It sounded like a window being broken and I thought it could be someone trying to break into my boyfriend’s car. So I looked out the window and didn’t see anyone near his car then I looked left and saw the police car was on fire,” the person wrote. “The police car has been parked there since the Orlando shootings. They move it every now and then but it’s always empty. My boyfriend called 911 and it took so long before they got there that by the time they did the entire car was covered in fire. It took a bit to get the fire out.”
Chitwood said the police department began stationing the vehicle outside the Islamic Center periodically last month on June 12, the day of the Orlando nightclub shooting, to protect it against anti-Islamic backlash in the wake of the massacre that killed 49. The gunman, Omar Mateen, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.