US Man Sets Self Ablaze in Washington
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A US man set himself ablaze in Washington DC near the Capitol Hill legislative building amid the continuing federal government shutdown that has left nearly one million federal employees out of work.
The incident occurred late Friday afternoon local time when the individual poured gasoline over his body and set himself on fire as he stood a short distance from the US Congress and numerous other federal buildings and closed museums, according to police and witnesses.
Authorities in Washington did not immediately identify the individual or say what may have motivated his action.
According to local press reports citing a furloughed (out-of-work) Justice Department employee that witnessed the incident, at about 4:30 p.m. a man picked up a brightly colored gasoline canister and doused himself.
According to the witness, a jogger running by ripped off his shirt and tried to smother the flames, Al Alam reported.
Soon, others in the area did the same thing. Authorities credited their actions with helping save the man, who was airlifted to the nearby Washington Hospital Center.
US Park Police officers found the man engulfed in flames when they arrived, said Maj. Patrick Smith, adding that “the cause of the blaze” was under investigation.
Police had cordoned off a large swath around the area, and dozens of police vehicles were nearby.
Meanwhile, Washington, DC police spokeswoman Saray Leon said the man was “conscious and breathing” when firefighters responded.
“I did not see flames on him, but his face and his arms were charred, and the ground nearby was in flames,” said another witness, who was jogging near the scene when she noticed the incident.
While the US federal government has been shut down for the past four days, Washington DC has witness a number of violent incidents in the past few days.
A shooting occurred outside the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday. A woman from Connecticut was shot to death by police after a high-speed chase.
This is while Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy was assaulted by an angry individual Wednesday evening while walking to Capitol Hill to cast votes.
“A random individual, unknown to the congressman, began screaming at him and grabbed his arm,” the congressman's spokeswoman said in a statement.