LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A 63-year-old man was set on fire while sitting in his SUV outside of a convenience store in Long Beach Friday night.
The incident, which was captured on cellphone video, happened just after 5 p.m. in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven near the intersection of Clark Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway.
Police said the victim was in his Toyota 4-Runner with the windows open when a man walked up and threw flammable liquid inside the vehicle.
Witness Robert Linkroum was in the store when he saw the entire situation unfold.
“A man had something in his hand, quickly throws whatever he has in his hand into the open window and the SUV’s interior immediately burst into flames,” he said.
A Good Samaritan helped the driver to safety. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition with burns over most of his body.
The 39-year-old suspect was arrested a block away and is in the process of being booked on attempted murder charges. Neighbors said he’s a known transient who frequently hangs out in front of the 7-Eleven.
“He’s always here talking to himself,” said Shannon Flynn. “I would never expect for him to snap like that.”
Some residents said they heard an argument between the suspect and the victim before the explosion, but police said they didn’t know each other.
“There’s no information that they had a relationship and there was no incident prior to this crime, so right now it looks like a random act,” said Sgt. Aaron Eaton of the Long Beach Police Department.