PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia man has been officially charged in connection with the throwing of a dangerous device at the campaign office of a Pennsylvania lawmaker Monday afternoon.
Investigators say the suspect is also connected to a similar incident at a recreation center only 30 minutes before the first incident.
Bryan Malachi, 20, is facing charges of Simple Assault, Possession of Instrument of a Crime and Reckless Endangerment of Another Person.
It was about 4:30 p.m. Monday when the West Oak Lane campaign office of Pennsylvania State Representative Dwight Evans was hit with a mysterious device. (See Related Story)
Two eyewitnesses, who asked that we don’t use their names, were working inside Evans’ office when they say they didn’t know what hit them.
“I heard a pop. I hit the floor. I was under my desk, so I just, I thought it was a firecracker until I saw the smoke. It was smoking outside of our office, that’s just serious and scary enough.”
Evans told Eyewitness News he was in Harrisburg at the time and he was informed that a bottle with a suspicious liquid was thrown at a window and bounced off.
Eyewitnesses called 911 and police, fire and ATF agents were on the scene within minutes. What they discovered outside the office on the sidewalk was a green mess — the remnants, police say, of a homemade device contained in a water bottle filled with some green fluid.
“This green liquid, while it wasn’t explosive, it’s highly caustic, which means, it would burn your eyes, burn your skin and if it got in your eyes, it could actually blind you,” Chief Inspector Scott Small explained.
Rep. Dwight Evans, who rushed down to Philadelphia in response told Eyewitness News, “Strange if you notice, my name’s not up on this office, it’s just my campaign political office. So it’s not like it’s identified in any particular way.”
Police say about 30 minutes before the incident at Evans’ office, Malachi was spotted entering the Simons Community Recreation Center in the 7200 block of Woolston Street. Investigators say Malachi threw an object into a trash can and a small explosion occurred. The object found at the rec center was similar to the one discovered outside Evans’ office, authorities said.
“I don’t have a reason for why that person would just, in my view, spontaneously just do something like that. It’s disappointing to be honest with you. I’m happy nobody was, in the staff or anybody in the community was hurt,” Evans said.
Malachi, of the 100 block of East Mayland Street, was arrested in the 1800 block of Pastorius Street.