LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A 63-year-old man from Long Beach remained in critical condition Saturday after being set on fire while sitting in his sport utility vehicle.
The incident in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven near the intersection of Clark Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway happened just after 5 p.m. Friday.
Police said the victim was in his Toyota 4-Runner with his window open when the suspect walked up and threw a flammable liquid inside.
A witness said he heard an argument and then saw flames shooting from the vehicle, KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reported.
The attack was captured on cellphone video.
A good Samaritan helped the victim, now identified as Jerry Arnold Payne. He was taken to the hospital with severe burns over most of his body.
Police said the men did not know each other. “There is no information that they had a relationship and there was no incident prior to this crime so right now it just looks like it was just kind of a random act,” Long Beach police Sgt. Aaron Eaton said.
The suspect was arrested a block away. He has since been identified as 38-year-old Raymond Sean Clark, a known transient.
Officials say Clark has been booked on suspicion of attempted murder and two misdemeanor failure to appear warrants. His bail has been set at $502,000.
Payne’s fiance spoke to CBS2′s Louisa Hodge Saturday.
The woman didn’t want her face shown, but she told Hodge that Payne was always helping the homeless. “They ask for money there all the time. I don’t give them anything. But Jerry does. He says if they look like they need it, he said he will try to help.”
She said a few weeks ago, Payne went above and beyond. “He told me he saw a homeless guy at the 7-Eleven, he said he looks so cold, so very cold. Went to his closet and came back with a jacket to give to the guy.”
She sad Payne — who served in the Marine Corps had severe burns from the waist up. He’s not speaking but she’s been speaking to him and he seems to be responding.