Long Beach, CA – Police are asking for help in identifying a suspect who set a man on fire outside a grocery store on Friday night. The victim, a 55-year-old man, was simply sitting down in front of the market, waiting for his father to collect groceries inside. A young man suddenly approached and threw a bottle of flammable liquid at the man, who immediately burst into flames.
The fire bomb nearly missed a mother and her baby, who was in a stroller just feet from the victim.
Surveillance footage captures the incident in which others at the scene run to grab the baby in the stroller out of harm’s way as the victim runs into the parking lot. Good Samaritans attempt to put the fire out, using jackets and shirts to stamp out the flames.
The surveillance tape has been released to the public, and Long Beach police are asking anyone for information that might lead them to the suspect. The arsonist attacked at about 7 pm on Friday evening, throwing a Molotov cocktail at the victim. Investigators do not believe that the victim and arsonist knew one another, nor do they believe the crime to be gang related. Sgt. Aaron Eaton reports that the man was “engulfed in flames,” adding that “there is no motive known.” Eaton reports that the victim was just “minding his own business” when he was suddenly attacked.
Eaton added that, as the assailant ran off, witnessed helped put out the flames and remove nearby cars from harms way.