Man sets himself on fire in Akron after ranting about post-election protests

Posted at 10:25 PM, Nov 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-21 16:20:25-05

A Vietnam veteran is being treated for burns after he set himself on fire in Akron Saturday morning. 

Police said the man ranted about post-election protests before dousing himself in gasoline.

According to Akron police, around 9:15 a.m. a 69-year-old man, dressed in a U.S. Marine Corps uniform, walked into Angel Falls Coffee on South Highland Avenue and began rambling about the recent protests.

"He seemed to be pro-rally, against Trump and he talked to my customers about how people needed to protest more against Trump," said Angel Falls Coffee shop owner Jim King.

The man then went outside, flagged down a man, handed him a phone and asked him to videotape something.

The veteran then grabbed a can of gasoline from his car, doused himself in gas and set himself on fire. 

"It was a shock for everybody," said King.

Witnesses used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

"He was curled in a fetal position, perfectly still except for some hand movement and he was completely covered in ash," King said.

The man was taken to Akron Children's Hospital and is being treated in the burn unit. He is currently in stable condition.

Lt. Rick Edwards said the veteran does not have a criminal record and will not be charged for setting himself on fire.

Investigators are treating it as a suicide attempt and said his family was stunned.

"I don't think there was any indication that he was going to do something like this, so I think with them being in shock, right now they're just asking for their privacy," said Akron police Lt. Rick Edwards.  

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs urges any veteran in crisis to call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.