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Man in critical condition after he is set ablaze in Long Beach

April 13, 2013|By Hector Becerra

A man is in custody on suspicion of attempted murder after he allegedly set a 63-year-old man on fire in his sports utility vehicle in Long Beach, police said.

The victim was parked in front of a 7-Eleven about 5 p.m. Friday when a 39-year-old man described as homeless by neighbors doused him with a flammable substance and set him ablaze, said Sgt. Aaron Eaton of the Long Beach Police Department.

The attack at the intersection of Clark Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway caused witnesses to rush to the victim's aid, but not before he suffered burns over most of his body, Eaton said. The victim, whose name has not been released, is hospitalized in critical condition, he said.

The suspect was arrested by responding police officers just around the corner, he said.

"We have no motive yet. There's no relationship between the two," Eaton said. "We've heard some reports that there was some type of argument between the two, but I can't confirm that. Based on what the detectives are telling us, this was a random act."

Eaton said he was still working on getting and releasing the suspect's name.

A witness who was inside the 7-Eleven buying a newspaper told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that he looked up to see the suspect walking toward the white Toyota 4-Runner and then throwing what looked like a bottle into it.

"The vehicle went up in flames immediately, just totally engulfed. It was all flames," he said. "It became so hot in 7-Eleven that I moved towards the back of the store because I thought the windows were going to blow."

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Twitter: @LATimesHekutor

hector.becerra@latimes.com

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