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In horrific attack, suspect intentionally sets homeless man on fire in Downtown Honolulu

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 10:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A homeless man is clinging to life after a brutal attack in which a suspect intentionally set him on fire, according to witnesses and police sources.

One witness said the victim was attacked twice in the span of several hours.

The horrific incident happened about 5:45 a.m. Wednesday.

A witness saw the suspect standing over the victim ― who is in his 30s ― as he slept outside the See Dai Doo Society Building on the outskirts of Downtown Honolulu.

“He had his hand outreached,” she said. “And he was lighting the other person on fire.”

Police sources say an accelerant was used along with a blowtorch to set the man on fire.

“His jacket was practically melted on his body,” the witness said. “Somebody kept screaming for him to take off his jacket. He couldn’t. It was part of him.”

She said she’s still trying to process the horror of the crime she witnessed. For her safety, HNN is not revealing her identity.

The woman says she was parked nearby when she noticed the suspect walk towards the entrance of the building. She says she watched him as he stood over the victim asleep on the ground.

After the incident, the suspect took off towards Kukui Street while the victim struggled in the flames. She said his screams are something she won’t forget.

“It was so long that he was on fire. Even when he was on the ground it took so long for them to get all the flames out,” she said.

“It was just a huge fireball of a person. He was running. Arms waving in the air.”

Witnesses said that the same man was attacked just three hours earlier. Someone apparently set an object on fire and threw it at him.

Those who know the victim said he’s always so polite and they’re baffled as to why someone would target him.

He suffered severe burns to his head and body and remains in critical condition. Police have opened a second-degree attempted murder case.

The suspect reportedly fled in a dark purple, 4-door Volkswagen sedan ― and was last seen wearing a maroon hoodie.

Anyone with information should call police.

This story will be updated.

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