Police are trying to determine a motive for an attack in which a man sitting in his SUV was set on fire outside a 7-Eleven store in Long Beach.
Raymond Sean Clark, 38, is accused of dousing the 62-year-old victim with a flammable substance while he was parked in front of the store at about 5 p.m. Friday, said Long Beach police Sgt. Aaron Eaton.
There were reports that there had been an argument between Clark, who has been described as homeless, and the victim just before the attack, but Eaton said that had not been confirmed.
The incident took place at the intersection of Clark Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway. Police say witnesses rushed to the victim's aid, but not before he was critically injured with burns over most of his body. Police arrested Clark around the corner from the store.
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 car window of the victim. The flames temporarily trapped Linkroum and others inside the 7-Eleven.
The Beachcomber also captured video of the fire.
Witness Shannon Flynn told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that the scene was horrifying.
"He was engulfed in flames," she told the paper.
Eaton said Clark had two failure-to-appear warrants. Clark is being held on suspicion of attempted murder as well as on the two misdemeanor warrants.
Linkroum told the Press-Telegram that he looked up to see a man walking toward the victim's black 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 7-Eleven that I moved towards the back of the store because I thought the windows were going to blow."
The fire spread from the victim's vehicle to the driver's side of a white Toyota Camry vehicle parked next to it, the Press-Telegram reported.
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