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Murder Suspect Burned in Botched Arson Attack

April 27, 1999

DOWNEY — A murder suspect suffered extensive second- and third-degree burns over much of his body when he apparently botched a fatal arson attack at a doughnut shop early Sunday, then drove to Arizona and demanded medical help, authorities said Monday.

The suspect, who has yet to be arrested or identified, suffered injuries over 40% of his body and is under police watch in a Phoenix burn ward, according to police. The man was rushed to the hospital Sunday afternoon after he wheeled his sedan into a Quartzsite, Ariz., truck stop, staggered from his car and asked a gas attendant for help.

Downey police were scheduled to interview the suspect today. They believe he killed a man inside the tiny T & K Doughnuts shop and tried to cover up the crime by dousing the shop with flammable liquid and striking a match. Firefighters say that the liquid ignited immediately, exploding and searing the attacker.

Police in Quartzsite said the suspect appeared to have changed his clothes after the fire, although his shoes were blackened and burned.

The doughnut shop blaze occurred at 12:35 a.m. in a shopping plaza in the 9000 block of Imperial Highway. Firefighters discovered the victim's burned body in a back room.

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