A Burlington County man admitted to his role in attempting to set fire to a police car during a riot in Trenton last summer and now faces up to five years in prison.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig says 20-year-old Killian F. Melecio Columbus pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of attempting to obstruct, impede, or interfere with law enforcement officers.

Honig's office says,

On May 31, 2020, large-scale protests were held throughout the United States, including in Trenton, in response to the death of George Floyd. Although the May 31st protest in Trenton was peaceful earlier in the day, violence erupted later. A group of individuals proceeded down East State Street in downtown Trenton and began to riot, smashing store fronts, looting stores, and attacking multiple marked Trenton Police Department vehicles parked on the 100 Block of East State Street.

A City of Trenton street camera and other video footage taken by an individual present on the street captured Kadeem Dockery light an explosive device and throw it through the open front driver’s side window of a Trenton Police Department vehicle. Dockery then removed his shirt and handed it to Melecio, who then attempted to stuff the shirt in the gas tank of the police vehicle and ignite it. Melecio was then assisted by Justin Spry in attempting to set fire to the police vehicle. Law enforcement officers on scene arrested Spry, but Melecio and Dockery fled. Law enforcement later identified Melecio and Dockery through analysis of street camera and other video footage. They were arrested on Aug. 5, 2020.

The charge of attempting to interfere with law enforcement officers during a civil order carries up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 26th.

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