A man who poured gasoline over himself and lit himself on fire Friday around 4:00 PM ET on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., died hours later. Reports state another person was present and had set up a tripod, presumably with a camera to film the act. There are no reports the the man, who has yet to be identified, said or did anything that would indicate his motive.
“Officer Araz Alali, a police spokesman, said the man died Friday night at a Washington hospital,” the New York Times reports:
The man’s name and age were not immediately known, and his burns were so severe that authorities will need to use DNA and dental records to identify him, Alali said.
Police had said he was conscious and breathing at the scene, but he was airlifted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
But one week before the D.C. self-immolation was drawing national attention, most news outlets missed an eerily similar act was attempted 1400 miles away, in Houston, Texas.
Reports state that in Houston, Friday, September 27, another man whose name has not been released, poured a red can of gasoline over himself and tried to light himself on fire. He was unsuccessful and passersby stopped him by gaining control of the lighter he was using. He was taken to a hospital. That happened at about 5:00 PM local Houston time.
It’s extremely rare for acts like these to happen in the United States. They do happen, all too frequently, in some Buddhist and Hindu cultures, as political protests, in India and Tibet, for example.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the date of the event in Houston. We apologize for this error.
Image: Screenshot via KHOU video
DC video hat tip: The Raw Story
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