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Woman set on fire at Van Nuys bus stop in critical condition

December 27, 2012 |  7:25 am

A man was arrested early Thursday on suspicion of setting a homeless woman on fire as she sat at a bus stop in Van Nuys.

The suspect allegedly poured an accelerant on the woman as she slept on a bench and then set her on fire at about 1 a.m. at Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way, said Officer Cleon Joseph of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The suspect’s name was not released because he had not yet been booked, Joseph said.

The woman was in critical condition at a hospital.

Witnesses called 911 and told police that the man ran away after he lit the woman on fire outside a Walgreens, but officers were able to catch up with him, said Sgt. Larry Martinez of the LAPD.

Detectives with the LAPD's robbery-homicide department are investigating the attack.

In October, a Long Beach man was set on fire when an unknown assailant threw a bottle filled with a flammable liquid at him outside a market. Authorities said there was no apparent motive or connection between the victim and suspect.

In 2008, John McGraham, who was homeless, was killed when he was set on fire in the Mid-Wilshire district by a man, later convicted of first-degree murder, torture and arson, who said he disliked the homeless in the neighborhood.


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-- Adolfo Flores

Photo: People visit the scene where a homeless woman was set on fire while sleeping on a bus stop bench early Thursday morning in Van Nuys. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times