Suspect arrested after allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at home, leading chase: Police

A Florida man was taken into custody on Sunday after he allegedly hurled Molotov cocktails at a residence before leading police on a chase.

Deputies with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home in Lakeland, Florida, following a report of someone throwing an explosive device into the home, authorities said.

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When police arrived, they discovered that at least seven Molotov cocktails had been thrown at the residence, including two that exploded on the roof, according to a report.

Deputies also saw the suspect, identified as Luke Neely, entering a Chevrolet pickup truck and driving away.

Authorities pursued the vehicle and damaged the pickup truck with a PIT maneuver. Eventually, the damage forced Neely to stop the vehicle, and he exited holding an AR-style rifle, the report noted.

Deputies fired several rounds into Neely to disarm and incapacitate him. He was hit at least three times and taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Neely, a suspect in several attempted arsons, was found to have had at least 57 rounds of ammunition for his rifle and a fully loaded handgun on his person, according to the report.

“He went on a rampage in Ybor last night,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “Fortunately, he was not successful in burning anything down, but I shudder when I think that … there were 1,000 people in the Ritz.”

At least three people were in the home Neely threw explosives at, and he is accused of trying to ignite a tree, fence, and nightclub following an attempt to light the local Ritz Theatre on fire.

Neely went to school with a woman who lived inside the home, Judd said.

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“There is not, as we know at this moment, a tipping point between one of our victims and this guy,” Judd added. “They knew each other. They had not socialized since 2016. They weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend.”

Neely is facing charges of attempted first-degree murder, firebombing, and resisting arrest.

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