VENTURA (CBSLA.com) — Police sought the public’s help Friday in identifying three men who may have information about who set a homeless man on fire in what investigators are calling an attempted murder in Ventura.
The attack occurred on Jan. 15 along South Seaward Ave. at the Beach shortly before 11 p.m., according to Ventura Police Cpl. William Dolan.
Police received a call from an adult male reporting that he had just found 58-year-old transient John Frazier on fire at the south end of Seaward and extinguished the fire with sand, Dolan said.
When officers arrived on scene, they found Frazier and some of his personal items “still smoldering,” according to Dolan.
Investigators later determined Frazier had been asleep in his sleeping bag with his backpack next to him on the sand side of the retaining wall when the attack occurred.
“John awoke to three males pouring lighter fluid on him and then lighting him on fire,” said Dolan.
Witnesses told investigators they saw flames as high as 6 feet and that Frazier’s entire upper torso was on fire.
Frazier sustained burns over nearly 40 percent of his body. He was transported to a local burn unit with second- and third-degree burns to his upper torso and face, Dolan said.
Police released surveillance photos of three individuals walking in the area at the time of the incident. They are described as two white males and one female in their late teens or early 20s. The males are believed to have shaved heads and were dressed in dark clothing.
According to Dolan, these individuals are not suspects, but are only identified as being in the area near the time and place that the incident occurred.
Anyone with information about the attack is asked to contact Detective Espinosa at the Ventura Police Department by calling (805) 339-4497.