Cyclist claims Molotov cocktail was thrown at him from Midtown Greenway bridge [PHOTO] [UPDATE]

Categories: Bicycle, Scary
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Ditlefsen (left) says a Molotov cocktail thrown at him set the Midtown Greenway ablaze.
-- Original post from April 3; update at bottom --

Just after 1 p.m. this afternoon, Drew Ditlefsen was biking eastbound on the Midtown Greenway when he says he received a very scary surprise.

SEE ALSO: "Not enough evidence" to charge driver of car that hit and killed biker with homicide

As he passed under the 15th Avenue bridge, he heard a crash and glass breaking. Afraid more objects would be thrown at him, he kept moving, but he managed to look over his shoulder quickly and he could see the entire width of the Greenway in flames.

Apparently, a Molotov cocktail had been thrown at him.

"It was like the movies, almost," Ditlefsen said.

Ditlefsen says that by the time he felt comfortable turning around to get a good look at the two Molotov cocktail-throwers on the bridge, he was too far away to be able to provide suspect descriptions. And while there were many people on the Greenway today, Ditlefsen said he didn't think there were any witnesses to the incident besides himself.

Once he returned to Peace Coffee's Minneapolis headquarters, a coworker told Ditlefsen he could smell the gas fumes on him. Ditlefsen called police and told them about the incident.

Here's the MPD's police report:
Unk suspects [i.e., unknown suspects] threw a Molotov cocktail from the 15th Av S over pass onto the Greenway bike path almost striking the listed reporting party as he rode by on his bicycle.
Ditlefsen took a picture of the scene after the flames subsided. Here it is:
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"The officer said in 13 years, he'd never seen anything like that," Ditlefsen said, adding that the officer said investigators would be trying to pull fingerprints from the broken glass left on the Greenway.

As someone who regularly uses the Greenway to make deliveries and to get to and from work, Ditlefsen said he uses it "just as much as anybody in the city." He said he's had things thrown at him while biking down it four or five times before -- but nothing like this.

:::: UPDATE ::::

Two preteens have been arrested in connection with last week's Molotov cocktail incident on the Greenway, the Star Tribune reports.

From the Strib:
Two kids suspected of launching a Molotov cocktail at a Midtown Greenway cyclist last week may be too young to charge with a crime, a police spokesman said.

"They're at a real sensitive age," said police spokesman Sgt. Steve McCarty, who could only say the two suspects are not yet teenagers. It's not believed they had help manufacturing the bomb, which just missed cyclist Drew Ditlefsen April 3 as he passed under the 15th Avenue bridge spanning the Greenway. The flaming bottle exploded when it hit the Greenway surface and burned for up to a minute, Ditlefsen said.
The Hennepin County Attorney's Office is considering whether to press charges. It's unclear what the kids' motivations were, McCarty said.

McCarty told City Pages that the kids, if they're charged at all, could be charged by summons.



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