National Mall Fire: Man Who Set Himself On Fire Dies, Accomplice Reportedly Filmed The Self-Immolation

on October 05 2013 1:18 PM
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Police officers investigate the scene where a man set himself afire on the U.S. National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4, 2013. The man was rushed to a local hospital by helicopter after using fuel to set himself ablaze near the National Gallery of Art in the middle of the mall, which remains closed due to the U.S. government shutdown. REUTERS

The man who set himself afire on the National Mall yesterday afternoon has died from his injuries, a Washington, D.C., police spokesman confirmed.

The Associated Press reported that Officer Araz Alali said the man, who has not yet been identified, died on Friday night after he was transported to a hospital. His burns were so severe that authorities will have to use DNA and dental records to make a positive identification.

The man doused himself with gasoline and set himself afire at the intersection of 7th Street and Madison Drive, near the National Air and Space Museum, which is located in the center of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Washington Times reported. Joggers in the immediate area were able to contain the flames by using their shirts.

"There were five gentlemen hitting him with their T-shirts," Nicole Didyk, an environmental engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration who chanced upon the scene of the incident, told NBCNews.com. "When he fell over, his arms were all white. He was burned really bad."

The man was transported by helicopter to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where he died later that night. Authorities are looking into any possible motive for the self-immolation. It is now believed that the man had an accomplice who filmed the entire incident.

Kathy Scheflen, a civil rights attorney who works for the Justice Department, told the New York Daily News she stopped at the scene when it unfolded when she saw a man with a tripod and a camera setup. "He was aware something was about to happen,” she said. “Otherwise he was filming nothing but a guy standing there."

Scheflen said she then saw the man who was being filmed douse himself with gasoline and set himself on fire. "It was obviously an intentional act," she said. "Somebody has a video of the whole thing."

As the Examiner points out, the incident took place just blocks from where Miriam Carey was shot dead by police at the Capitol after trying to ram her car through a White House gate just a day earlier.

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