In the last several days many bizarre events have been taking place in Washington including but not limited to a shooting on a military base and a crash into the capitol gate followed by a shooting but in the most recent of events a man reportedly set himself on fire at a national mall near the capitol on Friday afternoon. Witnesses report that the man apparently poured gasoline on himself before igniting the fire. The incident happened between the Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery. It is said that the flames were visible from the capitol and many stood nervous nearby.
After the recent incidents in Washington many businesses were closed for security purposes, leaving residents few places to be. As a witness reported being in the mall only because of the local area shutdowns it was to the surprise of many that yet another area in Washington was also not a safe place to be as a man set himself on fire in front of many. One witness reported that law enforcement was not contacted for a while as everyone was in too much of a shock and many were catching the footage with their cell phones.
Others who were near the man begin trying to help him by taking off their shirts and attempting to put out the fire. The man then thanked the men who ran to his aid and was taken in a helicopter to the MedStar Washington Hospital Center. At least 80% of his body was burned. Officials are still unsure why the man set himself on fire. The man has not yet been identified.
Many witnesses who were in the park at the time commented on the shock that the incident brought to them. Many were unsure of what to do in the situation as they were not sure if this was an act of terrorism or another strike from a delusion citizen. Some thought it was initially a performance or stunt rather than an act of crime. But many believe it was clear that the man set himself on fire intentionally. But was this a suicidal move, a terrorist attack, or coerced? Some believe it is hard to label the incident as intentional from a man who thanked joggers for putting the out the fire that was burning his body. One witness nearby happened to have a tripod and filmed the event as it occurred. Footage has just recently been released and several images of the man were taken at the time. For those witnesses who had children in the area the event was more than disturbing.
Officials say that the man, while in critical condition, is breathing and is still alive. He suffered many life threatening burns.
A man setting himself on fire is hardly the first incident experienced recently by Washington but will it be the last incident this year? Many are unsure of whether Washington is a current target just waiting to experience more attacks or if these incidents in the order occurred are simply coincidence. One thing is certain – residents of Washington are on edge as the events keep rolling out.
Written by: Crystal Boulware