SYLMAR ( — Emergency crews responding Saturday to a car engulfed in flames near the 210 Freeway reportedly found a dead man seated in the front seat.

The gruesome discovery shortly after 7:30 p.m. when firefighters arrived to a secluded area of Harding Street under a pedestrian bridge, LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon reported.

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Investigators believe they’re dealing with a homicide.

“It appeared the man had bled a great deal and we think he may have been shot prior to the fire starting,” Vernon said.”It appears someone wanted to torch the car to destroy the evidence.”

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The victim was a large Hispanic man in his mid-to-late 20s, Vernon said. He was inside a blue 1993 Lexus.

Witnesses told investigators they saw someone running across the pedestrian bridge just after the fire started, Vernon said.

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Anyone with information about the case was urged to call Detective Ryan Verna at (818) 838-9976 or leave anonymous tips at Crimestoppers (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or and click on “webtips”.