Gas station owner to suspect who tried blowing up store: ‘It’s terrorism’

Posted at 9:17 PM, Aug 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-11 23:14:42-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Vik Singh says he and his family have dealt with a lot in the 12 years they've owned their BP gas station on the corner of Division Avenue and Hall Street—from attempted robberies to people running off with gas—but never anything like this.

"It just comes to mind as terrorism," Singh said. "Wrapping up a bottle of gasoline, igniting it, and then throwing it onto a roof of a building."

But that's exactly what someone did. Singh's surveillance cameras early Monday at around 3 a.m. captured an individual approaching his gas station and throwing a flaming, gas-filled bottle onto the roof of his business.

Moments later, the video shows a distinct orange blast and glow from around the corner and, from a different camera, the suspect can be seen running away from the scene. About eight minutes later, police and firefighters arrived on scene.

"I just don't know what was going through this person's head when they came out and did this," he said.

Singh said what he described as "a homemade bomb" was thrown near the exhaust vents for his gasoline pumps, and only avoided serious damage by sheer luck: a taxi driver passing by saw the flames and called 9-1-1.

"The intentions were to create a disaster," he said. "It could've been much worse," especially considering there's about 15,000 gallons of gasoline stored on site.

Singh says he has seen some push back in recent months from residents in the area when he tried to redevelop some nearby properties, and he suspects the suspect could be someone who is upset with him.

"I want to know the reasoning behind it," Singh said. "I want to know why someone would actually come out and try to do harm to such an extent."

Singh's family is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leads to an arrest and says they're working with neighboring businesses to see if any other surveillance cameras captured a better shot of the suspect.

Anyone with information can call Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.