There was a troubling situation that happened in Akron, Ohio, as witnesses say a man ranting about the need to protest President-elect Donald Trump began ranting about the post-election protests and ultimately set himself on fire.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the 69-year-old man began cursing and speaking about the need to protest in the wake of Mr. Trump being elected president — although it isn’t 100 percent clear if the man in question was questioning the need for the anti-Trump protests — or if he agreed with the need for anti-Trump protests and wanted to join an anti-Trump protest.
Either way, the 69-year-old man donned a U.S. Marine Corps uniform when he entered the Angel Falls Coffee Company shop at approximately 9:20 a.m. on Saturday. The coffee shop is located in the eclectic neighborhood known as Highland Square, close to downtown Akron, about a 40-minute drive south of Cleveland. A mix of older eateries like Wally Waffle and Angel Falls, which has been in Highland Square at least 20 years, blend with newer stores and eateries like Mustard Seed Market & Cafe and Chipotle to draw patrons to the beloved area.
However, the peace of the Highland Square area was ruptured recently and briefly by the man ranting about Mr. Trump. After ranting about anti-Trump protests and asking the coffee shop patrons if anyone knew who organized an anti-Trump protest that had recently taken place, the man was told by certain patrons that they didn’t know who organized the anti-Trump protests.
After the man had asked folks inside about the anti-Trump protests, he noted that he had given blood for the U.S.
Witnesses report the man yelling about having a gun and not being afraid to use the gun.
He reportedly then exited the eatery and eventually covered himself in gasoline that he retrieved from a gas can from a vehicle.
The man had gone outside to South Highland Avenue, asked a local Highland Square resident to take his photo, and sent shockwaves through the neighborhood after setting himself ablaze. The man who was asked to take the photo never got a chance, but instead tried to extinguish the flames with his own coat.
Other people came out to help douse the flames with fire extinguishers. Emergency personnel — including police, EMTs and firefighters were on the scene within minutes. The man had curled into the fetal position and still had the lighter in his hand.
As reported by NewsNet5, the man indeed was a Vietnam veteran. The publication has a photo of the security video from inside the eatery.
Meanwhile, Akron-area residents have reacted to the man’s plight on the neighborhood app Nextdoor, issuing prayers for the man and asking for updates about his condition in the wake of the self-immolation.
“How sad. I think this obviously goes deeper than Trump. I hope and pray he gets the help he needs.
“Combat veterans are so fragile. The horrors they participate in and witness are indescribable. Peace does not come easy to those that have served in war. Don’t just say thank you for your service next time you meet a veteran, wish them peace and comfort.
“This poor man was obviously mentally ill and now will suffer even more from horrendous burn wounds. So, so sad.
“Just read about this poor man in the paper. Has there been any news on his prognosis? He and all who knew and loved him in are in our prayers. Also in our prayers are those who were witnesses of this terrible tragedy. I hope they too are receiving the help they need.
“Judging by the age and Marine uniform, he was a Vietnam Vet and has suffered more than most know and for a very, very long time! Thank you for recognizing this…Much more than thanks… and God Bless ‘Our forgotten Heroes!'”
Cleveland.com reports the man as being in stable condition.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]