Bronx, N.Y., Man Charged In Violent Multi-State Crime Spree Capped By High-Speed Chase
NEWARK, N.J. – A Bronx, N.Y., man is scheduled to appear in federal court today to face charges stemming from a violent crime spree spanning three states, in which he attacked, kidnapped, and raped a woman, assaulted a National Park Service employee and set fire to a used car dealership office before crashing on the George Washington Bridge, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Luis Figueroa, 33, is charged in a six-count complaint with kidnapping, brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, aggravated sexual abuse, assaulting an employee of the United States, and arson. He is scheduled to make his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court this afternoon.
According to the complaint:
On the morning of June 6, 2014, Figueroa allegedly entered a multi-family residence in Luzerne County, Pa., where a woman (Victim One) with whom he had a previous relationship and several other people lived in an apartment. He waited outside the apartment armed with a loaded shotgun.
When Victim One opened the door to leave shortly after 8:00 a.m., Figueroa struck her in the head with the shotgun. Figueroa allegedly stated, “I told you, bitch. I told you I was going to kill you.” He then entered the apartment and punched Victim One multiple times. Figueroa also struck Victim Two, a relative of Victim One, with the shotgun, then chased her and kicked her as she tried to escape, causing her to fall down a flight of stairs, and slammed her head against the front entrance. After a brief struggle with Victim One, which enabled Victim Two to escape, Figueroa collected the shotgun from the apartment and exited the building. Figueroa then forced Victim One into the back seat of a red SUV and drove away. Victim Two was eventually treated for her injuries.
Figueroa headed east in the red SUV on Interstate 80 towards New Jersey. At one point, Figueroa told Victim One that he was going to kill her, then kill himself. As he was driving, Figueroa allegedly forced Victim One to perform a sex act. After crossing the New Jersey state border, Figueroa exited the freeway and pulled the red SUV into a rest stop area at the Kittatinny Point Visitor’s Center.
After parking the red SUV, Figueroa allegedly climbed into the back seat with Victim One and forcibly raped her. Figueroa removed the ammunition from the shotgun and disposed of the rounds in a nearby wooded area. He then returned to the vehicle and retrieved the shotgun, then left again to dispose of the firearm. Once Figueroa left the red SUV with the shotgun, Victim One got in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and sped away. Victim One was subsequently transported to a hospital to receive treatment for her injuries.
After Victim One escaped in the red SUV, Figueroa allegedly approached U.S. National Park Service employee (Victim Three) near the parking lot area, attacked him and forced him into a nearby storage room, where he rammed Victim Three’s head into a door. Figueroa told Victim Three, “If you want to live, you better give me your car keys right now.” Victim Three handed over the keys and Figueroa drove away in Victim Three’s red minivan, heading east on Interstate 80. Victim Three was also treated for injuries.
Figueroa eventually stopped in Paterson, New Jersey, where he left Victim Three’s red minivan at a used car dealership he sub-let on West Broadway Street. Several days prior to June 6, 2014, Figueroa was given an eviction notice to vacate the property. At 11:30 a.m., Figueroa went to a separate used car dealership (the Victim Car Dealership) in Paterson, which was several blocks away. The Victim Car Dealership is operated by the individual who leased the West Broadway Street property to Figueroa. Figueroa asked an employee to borrow a portable gas container, then drove to a nearby gas station in a white SUV and filled the container with gasoline. Figueroa returned to the Victim Car Dealership and doused a small office area near the corner of the property with gasoline. The employee managed to get the gas container out of Figueroa’s hands, but Figueroa lit a match and ignited the structure. He then fled the scene in the white SUV.
Figueroa’s alleged crime spree ended when law enforcement officers traveling in marked police vehicles spotted him on the George Washington Bridge in the white SUV. Figueroa ignored the officers’ commands to stop and led them on a high-speed chase across the bridge, during which he struck two police vehicles before crashing into a wall. Figueroa then attempted to flee from the officers on foot but they tackled him and took him into custody.
Law enforcement subsequently searched the Kittatinny Point Visitor’s Center area and recovered the shotgun Figueroa used in the attacks.
The charge of kidnapping carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum term of seven years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of aggravated sexual abuse carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of assaulting an employee of the United States carries a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of arson carries a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of twenty in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George Belsky in Woodland Park, for the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the Hazelton City Police Department (Pennsylvania), the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office (Pennsylvania), the N.J. State Police, the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamari Buxton of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s General Crimes Unit in Newark.