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BUSTED! Tattoos Help ID Men In Trenton Protest Firebombings, FBI Says

Trenton police car burns during May 31 riot.
Trenton police car burns during May 31 riot. Photo Credit: INSIDERNJ.COM

The FBI arrested two more Trenton protesters, one of whom threw a makeshift Molotov cocktail at police and tried to set fire to a patrol car with two accomplices during an attack captured on video, federal authorities said Thursday.

Kadeem A. Dockery, 29, of Trenton, and Killian F. Melecio, 20, of Columbus were taken into custody Wednesday on federal charges thanks to their distinctive tattoos, which could be seen on social media posts and videos recorded by street cameras, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

They join a third man, Justin D. Spry, who was arrested by the FBI last month.

The incidents followed large-scale protests on May 31 in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis less than a week earlier.

Although the protest in Trenton was peaceful earlier in the day, violence erupted later, as a mob spread down East State Street, smashing windows, looting stores and attacking city police vehicles.

Dockery is seen in video footage “lighting an explosive device and throw it through the open front driver’s side window of a Trenton Police Department vehicle,” Carpenito said.

Dockery then “removed his shirt and handed it to Melecio, who attempted to stuff the shirt in the gas tank of the police vehicle and ignite it,” the U.S. attorney said.

Police grabbed Spry as he tried to light the shirt, Carpenito said.

Melecio fled and Dockery “lit another explosive device and threw it over the Trenton police vehicle at the arresting officers,” he said, adding that it “exploded at their feet.”

Investigators identified Melecio and Dockery “through their distinctive tattoos seen on the video footage,” Carpenito said.

The FBI charged both men with “attempting to damage or destroy by fire a vehicle owned or possessed by an institution receiving federal financial assistance” and “attempting to damage or destroy by fire a vehicle used in and affecting interstate commerce.”

A U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge in Trenton released Dockery pending further proceedings while ordering Melecio detained pending a bail hearing.

Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI and task force officers of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark with the investigation leading to the charges.

He also thanked Trenton police, New Jersey State Police and officers of the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Handling the case for the government are Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander E. Ramey and Michelle S. Gasparian of Carpenito’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

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