The man who set himself on fire at the National Mall on Friday died overnight, and his motives and identity remain a mystery. A Washington, D.C. police spokesman told the Associated Press the man was so badly burned he would have to be identified by DNA and dental records. A video camera on a tripod apparently captured the act, according to the New York Daily News: The man stood by himself and emptied a red gasoline can over his head, a witness told the AP earlier. The man may have said something before he did so, “but it was nothing intelligible.”
Several people who saw the blaze ran over and tried to beat it out with their shirts, for which the man reportedly thanked them before he was airlifted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. But the witness told AP, “there was not a lot people could do because it was a gasoline fire.”
Living in Washington sounds increasingly stressful and disturbing these days.