LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Police are searching for the person who lit a 54-year-old man on fire outside a market in Long Beach Friday night.

The victim remained hospitalized Monday in critical condition, with burns to his face, hands and legs.

“It is random, and right now it’s not necessarily making sense,” said Sgt. Aaron Eaton of the Long Beach Police Department.

Investigators said security camera footage shows the male suspect walking up to the El Paisano Ranch Market, pausing at the entrance to ignite a Molotov cocktail and throwing it at the victim, who was waiting outside for his father to finish shopping.

Witnesses helped extinguish the victim as he ran on fire.

Police have released the footage and said it’s helped garner tips from the public.

“Right now, they’re looking to see if they can pull out any little pieces of information that may point them in the right direction,” Eaton said.

The victim’s friends said he lives close to the market and walks there frequently.

He allegedly works as a baker on the Queen Mary and walks to the Mariscos Brite Spot restaurant for dinner every night after work. Restaurant employees said the man waits until closing time to make sure the women get to their cars safely.

“He is a good person. He spends a lot of time with us and takes care of us…he buys a lot of food here and takes it to the homeless on the streets,” said Norma Perez, who works at the restaurant.

The victim has been recovering at a local burn center and listed in critical, but stable, condition. He is heavily sedated and has family by his side.

Police are still investigating the motive of the incident.

The suspect is being described as a 25 to 30-year-old Hispanic male, about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a light colored short sleeve button-down shirt with vertical stripes and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Long Beach Fire Department’s Arson Hotline at (562)50-2582.


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