LOS ANGELES – On Thursday morning, a 67-year-old homeless woman was set on fire when a man doused her with an accelerant and lit a match. The homeless woman was sleeping outside of a Walgreens store near Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way when she was set on fire.
According toNBC News,witnesses told police that a man doused the homeless woman with a beverage possibly containing alcohol at around 1:00 a.m.
Police say that the suspect lit a match then ran away from the location.
The homeless woman was hospitalized in critical condition and police say that she will likely be transported to a Sherman Oaks burn center for treatment.
Erickson Ipina, an eye witness, commented on the attack:
“It was like when you pour gasoline on something — like an explosion.”
Ipina told a Newsreel photographer that the suspect bought the bottle containing alcohol inside the Walgreens store that the homeless woman was sleeping outside of.
The suspect then exited the store and poured the contents on the woman.
Ipina then said that he called 911 and followed the suspect. The suspect then pulled out a knife while Ipina was following him.
“He told me, ‘Stop following me, or I will cut you. I kept following him and then the police came.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the police have arrested a suspect in the attack.
Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andy Smith said that Dennis Petillo, 24, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
The homeless woman’s name has yet to be released. Also, it is still unclear whether or not there is a connection between Petillo and the victim.
Local residents said that the homeless woman had been sleeping at that bus stop at Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way every night for many years.