CITY CORRECTIONS officer Victor Guzman and his wife were just starting to piece their broken lives together after the shooting death May 20 of their 25-year-old son in front of their Frankford home, when a firebomb shattered their front window Saturday morning.
The bomb — made of a 40-ounce beer bottle filled with gasoline — was no longer lit when it landed inside the house. Four similar firebombs found outside never ignited, either.
Guzman's wife, who asked that her name be withheld, said she knows why she, her husband and her mother survived the attack.
"I feel like my son was watching over us," she said. "With all of these bottles and not one worked, he had to be watching over us."
The Guzmans said they believe that the firebombing was directly related to the slaying of their son, Edward "Edwin" Pagan. Police have not said as much, but they're not ruling it out, either.
"Nobody can say at this point, because it's just too soon," said Officer Christine O'Brien, police spokeswoman. "Of course, police are going to look into any previous incidents at that location, which includes the homicide shooting."
Saturday, just hours after the firebombing, police identified the suspect in Pagan's death as Jalil Cooper, 20, of Penn Street near Adams Avenue.
According to police and sources familiar with the case, shortly after 10 p.m. May 20, Pagan walked out of his house, and Cooper, whom he did not know, asked him for a cigarette. Pagan declined, the two began arguing, and Cooper shot Pagan in the back more than once, police said. Guzman was shot once in the arm as he tried to usher Pagan into the house.
Guzman, Pagan's stepfather, raised him from the age of 7 and considered him his own.
Guzman's wife said Saturday's incident began around 4:50 a.m. when her mother, who stays with the couple, was awakened by something crashing into her bedroom window. It was one of the firebombs, but it bounced off the window and landed next to the house. Moments later, a firebomb came through the front living-room window.
"The smell of gasoline was so strong we had to get out of the house," Guzman said.
Police found three other full firebombs next to the house.
As of Sunday afternoon, a cop car still was parked outside the home and the living-room window was boarded shut. The scent of gas no longer lingered in the well-kept house, but sadness and confusion did.
"What he did to our son, he could do this to anyone's kid, even if he knows them," Guzman's wife said. "He was just starting his life, he was just starting to live. How can you just take a life and think you're going to get away?"