Village police: Freeport man threatens to hijack, kill officers

Authorities nab suspect as he tries to board a flight to Dominican Republic


Story updated 2:50 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, 2018

Leonel Vinas’s reasons for doing so are unknown, but according to police, the 26-year-old Freeporter took to Instagram to threaten the lives of police on Monday.

Freeport Police Chief Miguel Bermudez said that an off-duty officer was browsing through his Instagram feed when he came across Vinas’s post, and brought it to the department’s attention. Village police in turn reported the threats to county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Within eight hours, Port Authority Police arrested Vinas at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he tried to board a flight to the Dominican Republic.

According to Freeport police, Vinas took a photo at an unknown Bellmore location and posted it to Instagram. In the post, he talked about being angry and announced that he was flying to the Dominican Republic. The message, filled with explicit language, also said, “The first cop that stops me is either getting shot or getting hijacked.”

On social media, three days before allegedly threatening police, Vinas posted videos from Freeport calling himself the “Dominican Slim Shady” while threatening to “hijack everything/anyone in my way.”

“I’m going to jack everyone,” Vinas said in his native Spanish. “Listen, I’m going to the Bronx to burn everything that isn’t affiliated.”

During the minute-long video, it’s unclear what Vinas meant by “affiliated,” but he touched on targeting the Bloods street gang.

According to police, the incident was not gang-related. Bermudez said that Vinas has no criminal record.

Vinas was reportedly given a chance to play in the New York Yankees minor league circuit at age 19. He moved to Long Island at age 11 from the Dominican Republic and played baseball at Freeport High School.

He was arraigned on Tuesday in First District Court in Hempstead on one count of making terroristic threat. His bail was set at 10,000 bond or $7,500 cash, but neither had been posted as of Wednesday

A representative for Vinas could not be reached at press time on Wednesday.