BY Joe Kemp, Clare Trapasso & Rich Schapiro
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS –
A Brooklyn woman was burned alive Saturday when her demonic ex-beau ambushed her inside an elevator, sprayed her with a flammable liquid, set her ablaze and tossed a Molotov cocktail inside, cops and neighbors said.
Early Sunday, police were questioning a suspect who turned himself in at Brooklyn’s Transit District 32, stinking of gasoline.
Delores Gillespie, 64, was on her way home from buying groceries when she stepped out of the elevator at 203 Underhill Ave. in Prospect Heights and into a carefully laid trap.
Minutes earlier, Gillespie’s attacker had glued shut the locks on the elderly woman’s fifth-floor apartment and doused the elevator door with accelerant, sources said.
When the elevator reached her floor about 4:15 p.m., she was met by the psycho clad in black and clutching a barbecue lighter, a wine bottle and a canister of combustible fluid resembling an exterminator’s kit.
He barged into the elevator and sprayed her with a mist of accelerant from point-blank range. Gillespie turned from her attacker, crouched down and threw her hands up to her face, grocery bags dangling from her arms.
The assailant cornered her and started spraying her methodically over her face and torso, police said.
Then, the madman, wearing white gloves and a dust mask on his head, lit a Molotov cocktail, waited for a few seconds and set his ex on fire with the wick.
“She goes up in flames and falls to the floor,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
The maniac wasn’t done.
After ducking behind the elevator door “as if he was anticipating an explosion,” he lobbed the Molotov cocktail inside the smoky death chamber, Browne said.
Two surveillance cameras were rolling as he cruelly finished the job, again spraying Gillespie’s burning body with the ignitable liquid before fleeing down the stairs.
“I’ve never seen any s— like this, and I’ve been doing this a long time,” a detective said.
Gillespie, 64, was burned beyond recognition and pronounced dead at the scene. Five other tenants suffered minor injuries.
Neighbors said the suspect lived with her until recently and was often seen collecting bottles and cans outside.
“It’s horrific,” said Ben Olson, 37, who lives on the sixth floor. “I can’t believe it’s true.”
Gillespie, raised in Louisiana and living in the building for decades, appeared to be mentally ill and was extremely paranoid, neighbors said.
She often complained that upstairs tenants were stealing from her.
Her son, who sometimes stayed in her apartment, was being questioned by cops Saturday night but is not considered a suspect.
“I’m in shock,” said neighbor Chris Martinez, 38. “We didn’t know she had any enemies.”
One neighbor said he heard loud screams before smoke started filling the hallways.
“It was high-pitched yelling,” said the 29-year-old neighbor, who identified himself as John.
The neighbor said he raced downstairs and heard popping sounds from the elevator shaft.
“The elevator sounded like it was boiling paint,” he said.