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Police: Hatchet-Wielding Suspect In Berkeley Blowtorch Attack Tried Lighting Others On Fire Before Incident

BERKELEY (CBS SF) -- A man who was arrested following a bizarre blowtorch attack in Berkeley had apparently tried to light two other people on fire just before the attack at a local boba tea shop.

Berkeley police on Wednesday identified the suspect as Berkeley resident Brandon McGlone, 46, who faces a litany of charges in the attacks.

On Monday evening, police said McGlone first approached two men eating outside at Artichoke Basille's Pizza on 2590 Durant Ave., knocked their food off the table, and said he was going to light them on fire.

Brandon McGlone
Brandon McGlone (Berkeley Police Department)

As the two men retreated from the McGlone, he allegedly sprayed them with the flammable aerosol lubricant WD-40, and the two men escaped from him, police said.

Following that incident, McGlone approached a group of people at Feng Cha Teahouse just down the street. Video surveillance shows a suspect entering the store and immediately spraying and igniting the hair of two people.

Bystanders were able to quickly extinguish the persons' hair and others tried to subdue the suspect. As they struggled to detain the man, he pulled out a hatchet and threatened them.

Police officers arrived and convinced the suspect to drop the hatchet. A search of the suspect's possessions showed he was also carrying knives, a machete, matches, lighters, and several Molotov cocktails, police said.

On Wednesday, the Alameda County District Attorney's office charged McGlone with arson, criminal threats, throwing a flammable substance on another, assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a destructive device, among other charges.

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