Man sets himself on fire at National Mall, one witness says his accomplice filmed the entire ordeal: report

	First responders and people assist a man who apparently set himself on fire at the National Mall in Washington in this October 4, 2013 photo. The man was rushed to a local hospital, officials said, and was conscious and breathing when he was taken to the hospital. -- Photo by Terry HayesNew York Daily News – by Dan Friedman , Carol Kuruvilla AND Corinne Lestch 

A man was in critical condition Friday night after he poured gasoline on his body and lit himself on fire on the National Mall.

Flames and smoke from the self-immolating man near 7th Street and Jefferson Drive, SW, were visible from the Capitol, where some staffers watched the scene from west facing windows, just a day after a car chase that ended with the shooting death of a woman just outside the Hart Senate Office Building.  

The incident happened at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday in between the Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery. Passing joggers rushed to the man’s aid, several ripping off their shirts to help beat out the flames that burned 80% of his body, ABC reports.

Passersby who saw the man rushed to his aid, several ripping off their shirts to help put out the flames.

TERRY HAYES

Passersby who saw the man rushed to his aid, several ripping off their shirts to help put out the flames.

The man reportedly thanked the joggers before he was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center by a U.S. Park Police helicopter that landed on the Mall.

Fire department spokesman Tim Wilson said the man suffered life-threatening injuries, but was conscious and breathing at the scene.

Authorities are now investigating the man’s motives.

'A guy took his shirt off, ran over ... (to) start trying to beat the flames out,' a witness says. 'A couple other joggers also stopped to help.'

TERRY HAYES

‘A guy took his shirt off, ran over … (to) start trying to beat the flames out,’ a witness says. ‘A couple other joggers also stopped to help.’

“I’m not aware of any signage or any articulation of any causes,” said Lt. Pamela Smith of the U.S. Park Police, which has teamed up with the D.C. police department.

Tommy Hess, a tourist visiting his brother, said he was on the Mall, “milling around, because everything is closed due to the shutdown.”

“I never expected to see anything like that,” Hess said. “It’s crazy.”

The man reportedly thanked the joggers who came to his aid before he was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

TERRY HAYES

The man reportedly thanked the joggers who came to his aid before he was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Katy Scheflen, a furloughed civil rights attorney in the Justice Department, said she stopped because she saw “a guy with a tripod set up.”

Scheflen said another man, who she thought the tripod with a camera was filming, then took a red can of gasoline, poured it over his head.

“At that point we didn’t know what was going, maybe it was some sort of stage protest,” Scheflen said. “And then he set himself on fire and went up in flames,” she said. “Whoosh.”

The self-immolation left the man with burns on 80% of his body. Witnesses said his body was charred and his arms and face were white.

HAND OUT

The self-immolation left the man with burns on 80% of his body. Witnesses said his body was charred and his arms and face were white.

“I saw like a spark,” she said. “Then he just went completely up in flames.”

“Some heads up joggers put out the flames,” she said. “A guy took his shirt off, ran over, you know, start trying to beat the flames out. A couple other joggers also stopped to help.”

“It’s very shocking,” she said. “It’s horrifying. Literally watching this guy go up in flames. There was not really anything anybody could do.”

The incident took place at the National Mall at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

VANESSA SINK VIA TWITTER

The incident took place at the National Mall at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

Scheflen said the presence of a mounted camera gave her the impression “he was aware something was about to happen. Otherwise he was filming nothing but a guy standing there.”

“It was obviously an intentional act,” she said. “Somebody has a video of the whole thing.”

Scheflen said the man may have said something beforehand “but it was nothing intelligible.”

Police officers found a red fuel can at the scene. The man reportedly poured a can of gasoline onto his clothes before lighting himself.

JOE MARINO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Police officers found a red fuel can at the scene. The man reportedly poured a can of gasoline onto his clothes before lighting himself.

Emily Cherry, a stay-at-home mom from Bristow, Va., was on the mall with her son Jackson, 2 and one-half years old, who was playing on the mall.

She said she saw the flames and at first thought it was a performance of some kind. “I grabbed him and kind of walked toward it,” she said.

“Then I realized somebody’s hurt and I heard people yelling ‘water, water’ so I called 911.”

A helicopter arrives on the scene. The man was then airlifted to a local hospital.

VANESSA SINK VIA TWITTER

A helicopter arrives on the scene. The man was then airlifted to a local hospital.

“I saw several people filming on their phones. I remember thinking’ is no one calling 911, because they were all filming,” Cherry said.

Cherry said she tried to distract her son once she realized what she was seeing.

“I don’t know what he saw and understood,” she said, still holding him thirty minutes later. “We tried to stay away.”

The incident happened on the National Mall, in between the National Gallery of Art and the Air and Space Museum.

JOE MARINO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The incident happened on the National Mall, in between the National Gallery of Art and the Air and Space Museum.

While she explained, Jackson interrupted:

“Did I see him on fire?” he asked.

“He did have fire on him, sweetheart, yeah,” Cherry told him.

Police officers investigate the scene where a man set himself on fire in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

JOE MARINO/ NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Police officers investigate the scene where a man set himself on fire in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

“It hurts,” Jackson said.

“It does, but the ambulance came and they’re gonna try to make him feel better,” Cherry said.

With News Wire Services

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/man-sets-fire-national-mall-report-article-1.1476755#ixzz2gqrDSZDX

4 thoughts on “Man sets himself on fire at National Mall, one witness says his accomplice filmed the entire ordeal: report

  1. The man was an idiot. We have no shortage of martyrs. What we need are soldiers who’ll prevent the martyrdom of the rest of us.

    If he had a brain in his head he would have thrown the gasoline on a deserving victim, followed by lit matches.

  2. I was going to comment ….
    But what can one say ?
    Other than, ” You can fix STUPID ! ”
    or
    It’s gotta be drugs ….
    …either mind control …or a bad trip…….

    1. Yes PARACLETE, I bet that he was on some psychiatric drug combination like a ssri combined with a maoi. Bad combination ya know. Hell, I knew a lot of old hard core acid heads from the mid sixties and they never thought of doing things like this even on a bad day. Ha, I am suprised the media doesn`t blame it on marijuana adiction, if there is a such a thing, lol 🙂

  3. “I’m not aware of any signage or any articulation of any causes,” said Lt. Pamela Smith of the U.S. Park Police, which has teamed up with the D.C. police department.”

    Wow. Is that an attempt by a cop to sound well-educated, or what?

    FAIL.

    There are far less painful ways to check out than the Fantastic Four Human Torch routine.

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