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Man set on fire outside 7-Eleven dies of burns

April 15, 2013|By Ruben Vives
  • A man has died after he and his SUV were set on fire outside a 7-Eleven in Long Beach.
A man has died after he and his SUV were set on fire outside a 7-Eleven in Long… (KTLA )

A 63-year-old man who was set on fire while sitting inside his sport utility vehicle outside a 7-Eleven store in Long Beach on Friday has died, authorities say.

The victim was pronounced dead Monday morning at a local hospital, three days after the incident. Long Beach Police Department identified him as Jerry Payne.

Raymond Sean Clark, a 38-year-old homeless man, was initially booked on suspicion of attempted murder and on two outstanding warrants Friday night. Authorities say they will now rebook Clark on suspicion of murder.  

The fire attack occurred Friday around 5:15 p.m. at the corner of Clark Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway. Police officers received a report of a vehicle fire outside a 7-Eleven store. The arriving officers instead discovered that a man had been set on fire inside his vehicle after someone doused him with a "flammable substance," authorities said.

Several witnesses rushed to the victim’s aid, but not before he was critically injured with burns over most of his body, authorities said.  

Clark was arrested around the corner from the location of the attack.

Witness Robert Linkroum told the Beachcomber newspaper in Long Beach that he was inside the store when he saw a man throw something into the window of the SUV. The flames temporarily trapped Linkroum and others inside the 7-Eleven.

The Beachcomber also captured video of the fire.

Linkroum told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that he looked up to see a man walking toward the victim’s white Toyota 4-Runner and 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 the 7-Eleven that I moved towards the back of the store because I thought the windows were going to blow.”

Authorities have not established a motive for the attack. They say they are also looking for witnesses who have not come forward.  Investigators plan to present the case to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office this week.

Anyone with information about the attack can call Homicide Dets. Scott Lasch and Donald Goodman at (562) 570-7244.  Anonymous tips can be submitted at www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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ruben.vives@latimes.com | Twitter: @latvives

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