BELTSVILLE, Md. - The owner of a Beltsville liquor store is calling one of his employees a hero after he was badly injured when a suspect threw a Molotov cocktail inside the business.
Danny Shah said his worker, Benny Ramdas, was sweeping the floor Sunday night near the front of Calverton Liquors when the suspect, identified by authorities as 22-year-old Kevon Edwards, walked into the store with the firebomb in his hand.
According to store owner, Ramdas tried to fight off the suspect in order to protect the store.
"[He] lifted up the broom and was like, ‘Hey, don't come in with that here.’ Because he didn't even know what it was because it was like lit up,” Shah described. “It ended up catching Benny's shirt on fire around his stomach and his armpit."
Another employee was also hurt in the incident. That worker was treated at the hospital and later released.
Detectives said Edwards is facing several charges that include attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, second-degree arson, reckless endangerment and destructive device. It is still unclear what the motive was for the attack.
Edwards’ mother came to the liquor store on Thursday seeking to talk to the store owner and apologize for what her son allegedly had done.
She told FOX 5 that her son had been in and out of mental facilities since 2011. She said recently that Kevon had escaped a mental institution in Rockville.
When news of his arrest was brought to her attention, she said that she is now going to be paying the ultimate price as a parent and is absolutely devastated.
“It's unbelievable to me up to now,” Edwards’ mother said. “All night, I was crying. I cry on the inside every day. Not just now, but every day because it's a nightmare that I am going through not being able to help my son.”
She has been pleading with the Prince George's County court system for years to make sure that her son stays locked up in order to not only protect him, but to also protect other people from getting injured.
When Shah found out Ramdas was the one who put his life on the line for his store, he said he couldn't believe it, but was also not surprised because that is the kind of person he is.
"He just wants to help everybody,” said Shah. “Even down here in the neighborhood, everybody knows him. He cuts the neighbors' grasses. He shovels the snow. Doesn't ask for money or anything … He's just a neighborhood, friendly guy. Everybody around here, when they found out it was Benny, they worried because they all know he has been a very helpful person."
The owner called the attack a random and horrible act. Shah is extremely thankful for Ramdas being there because he believes this tragedy could have turned out much worse.
Ramdas is still at the Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center recovering from his injuries.
Edwards is being held without bond.