Los Angeles police are investigating the death of a homeless man who apparently was doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire.LAT.
Police responded to a call about 9:40 p.m. Thursday and found the man on 3rd Street between Berendo Street and New Hampshire Avenue in the Mid-Wilshire area, said Officer Ana Aguirre, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department. Firefighters also responded.
The victim was later pronounced dead, authorities said.
"This is one of cruelest crimes you can imagine," said Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz, who oversees LAPD's Rampart Division. "Pouring gasoline on a human being and setting them on fire. As an officer who has responded to many murders over the years, this is amongst the most horrific." . . . .
One resident, who did not want to be identified out of fear for his safety, said he spoke to someone who allegedly witnessed the crime. He said the witness told him several teenagers apparently got out of a Honda Civic carrying a bucket of gasoline and approached the homeless man, doused him and set him on fire.
The youths then chased the man into a parking lot and threw another bucket of gasoline on him, he said. Several residents came to the victim's aid and tried to put out the flames, he said.
This is a horrible and profoundly sad story. That these kids would do this -- and throw more gasoline on the man as he was burning -- seems to be a symptom of something very dark in L.A., and in our society.