• Kindzulis died last Wednesday after suffering 85 percent burns
  • Another gay man, a friend of the victim, sustained injuries
  • The duo had earlier complained to the police about receiving threats

A 29-year-old gay paramedic has died after he was allegedly set on fire by his neighbor following a scuffle. The incident happened in the Latvian town on Tukmens on April 23.

Though the victim, Normunds Kindzulis, was rushed to hospital, he died last Wednesday. He suffered 85 percent burns of a life-threatening nature, reports Yahoo News.

His death was confirmed by European Pride Organisers Association confirmed on Twitter, calling Kindzulis a "victim of homophobic arson attack."

Reports say a scuffle broke out in the apartment complex Kindzulis lived in, following which his disgruntled neighbor allegedly doused a flammable liquid on his body and set him on fire.

Another gay man, identified as Artis Jaunklavins, who tried to save Kindzulis from the fire that razed through the building has also been injured. Jaunklavins said he found Kindzulis burning outside their home. "I woke up from screams in the corridor. Normunds was flaming like a torch. I tried to put out the flames, I carried him in and put him in the bath but the burns were too severe, his clothing had fried into his skin,” Jaunklavins was quoted by Euractiv.

However, the local police initially refused to open a formal investigation, saying "there is no full evidence that a crime took place."

Meanwhile, another local news outlet reported that Kindzulis had received homophobic death threats in the past, following which he fled to Tukums. But, the situation wasn't any better in the new town. According to the report, he was assaulted at least four times here.

Following this, Kindzulis and Jaunklavins approached the police, saying they were being threatened and jeered at by their neighbor in the five-story building they lived in.

"We reported these threats to both the police and the neighbor’s workplace, but there was no reaction. We had to wait for someone to be mutilated or killed," said Jaunklavins.

Meanwhile, Janeks Bach, a senior police officer, said criminal proceedings have been initiated and an active investigation is underway.

On the previous threats towards the victims, Bach said: "Previously, once in November 2020, the victim had reported the threats to the police. Following examination of this information, a decision was taken to refuse to initiate criminal proceedings and no appeal was lodged against this decision. Due to the ongoing investigation, we are not yet allowed to provide more information on the progress of the investigation."

The incident has triggered widespread protest in Latvia, which has for long resisted recognizing LGBT+ people. Latvian president Egils Levits has condemned the attack tweeting "there is no place for hate in Latvia."

crime scene
Representational image MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images