The deli where the attack took place. Photo: Google Maps.

A Flatbush man has been charged with arson, attempted murder and aggravated harassment for throwing a Molotov cocktail into a Bed-Stuy deli, attempting to throw a second Molotov cocktail, and then stabbing a deli worker who chased him as he fled the scene, the Brooklyn district attorney has announced.

Joel Mangal, 38, was arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dineen Riviezzo on Monday on a 29-count indictment, in which he is charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree arson, first-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree aggravated harassment, second-degree assault and related charges.

The charges stem from an October 30 attack, where, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, around 6:40am Mangal allegedly threatened to kill two employees at a deli located at 496 Nostrand Avenue and threatened to burn the building down.

He then allegedly picked up an apple from the store and threw it in the direction of one employee, breaking a television screen.

According to the investigation, Mangal allegedly returned to the deli around 7:50am and threw a Molotov cocktail inside. The Molotov cocktail exploded into a fireball on impact and engulfed the deli counter and caused portions of the cashier counter to go up in flames, forcing two employees to jump through the flames to get to safety, Gonzalez’s office said. One of the victim’s foot and arm caught fire.

Then, Mangal allegedly attempted to throw a second Molotov cocktail into the store, but a passerby knocked it out of his hand.

He allegedly fled the location heading for the Nostrand Avenue A/C subway station and was chased by workers into the subway. Mangal allegedly stabbed one of the workers in the hand.

The worker found a police officer and pointed out the Mangal on the subway platform, and he was arrested.        

“Thankfully, this frightening attack did not lead to more serious injuries, but this kind of lawlessness is dangerous and requires an appropriate law enforcement response,” Gonzalez said.

“We will now seek to bring this defendant to justice and hold him accountable.” Mangal was ordered held on bail of $500,000 cash or $1 million bond and to return to court on January 27, 2022. 

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