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O.C. auto mechanic accused of setting fire to transient

A Santa Ana auto mechanic was to be arraigned today on charges of setting a transient and his possessions on fire after dousing the victim's shopping cart with gasoline.

Hector Manuel Medina, 32, is charged with one felony count of arson causing great bodily injury, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Medina, a mechanic at Santa Ana Firestone Complete Auto Care, allegedly confronted 64-year-old transient Ruben Sandoval in the alley behind the auto shop on Sunday. Medina apparently was angered because he had previously found the transient sleeping in his car on a rainy day, said Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

After spotting Sandoval, Medina allegedly took a gas canister from the garage, approached the victim and his shopping cart, and doused the cart with gasoline, some of which splashed onto Sandoval, Emami said.

Medina then allegedly set the cart on fire with a match, but the flames jumped and set the victim's beard on fire. Sandoval attempted to put out the flames with his hands, Emami said.

Sandoval suffered second and third-degree burns to his body, face, and hands. The contents of his cart, which included clothing, blankets and food, were destroyed.

Medina allegedly fled the area but was arrested soon after near his home, Emami said. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison. Medina is being held on $100,000 bail.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Comments () | Archives (10)

only in the OC...

My prayers go out the homeless man who was so cruelly burned by that criminally insane auto mechanic, Hector Medina. I hope Firestone Tires is forced to pay out a huge amount of money to Mr. Sandoval and that Medina gets some serious prison time for his unbelievably horrible crime.

should be charged with some sort of involuntary crime of violence against another person. don't you get some sort of manslaughter charge if the building you burn down has people in it that die?

As if being homeless is hard enough, some blankty blank blank has to set some guy down on his luck on fire? There are more homeless today since probably the '30's and more to come. Very few want to give these people the respect called "human deciency". Someday everybody WILL have a proper home and the government WILL treat everybody with respect. This is an outrage! There are too many breakdowns to list here. This guy should try being homeless for a month and see how humiliating it is.

That's cruel, he did not have to pour gas on the guy things like that. He should have known what he was doing was dangerous. He's lucky he did not get burned also.

Bad scene.

I'd be pissed if someone thought my vehicle was a public bed, but wow....

giambo, considering homicides are quite rare in OC, why do you make this claim of "only in the OC..."

Medina, has a head problem, and thanks God no one was killed.

U people do not even know the story behind the situation..yes what he did was wrong but obviously these articles will not post that the homeless person was not only a heroin addict but would use firestones corners and his car as a place to get high and use the restroom... not only did he use drugs in his car he would leave his syringes in his car...god only knows what diseases this person has... what if he would've got poked with one of those...anyone would be furious...... still it should have been handled differently... but god knows what he does..as for setting him on fire..it was an accident and he helped the man not to get burned even further... so please cut this guy some slack...

maybe needs a key after fire, we offer local locksmith services for cars , cutting any car keys


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