(Liberty Headlines) Religious figures like Tibetan monks have long used self-immolation by setting themselves on fire to make poignant political statements.
A few radicals, and some presumed drug-abusers, have even brought the gruesome and horrific practice to our nation’s capital in recent years.
Um there’s a car on fire at SCOTUS. pic.twitter.com/bY0lY9KZf4
— Marissa D. Barrera (@mdb2) July 15, 2020
A young man set a police car on fire outside the Supreme Court Wednesday, suffering serious burns in the process, the Associated Press and other media outlets reported.
It is unclear whether the injury to himself was intention, but either way, the vandal failed to achieve the intended outcome, leaving himself badly injured, writhing on the ground before being taken into police custody.
“He was taken into custody by Supreme Court Police and was transported by ambulance for treatment of his injuries,” said Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.
Arberg said the individual appeared to pour a flammable liquid on a white four-door sedan belonging to the Supreme Court Police, parked on Maryland Avenue next to the court building, and then set the vehicle ablaze. An adjacent vehicle was also damaged.
Witnesses, including a Congressional staffer passing by, described a fast response by authorities but said they were, nonetheless, shaken by the episode.
The staffer told CQ/Roll Call that while was enjoying lunch on the National Mall with friends they heard a series of loud bangs. They looked to see flames shooting out the undercarriage of the vehicle.
“A second later, the whole thing was literally a fireball,” said the staffer.
A witness statement reported by the crime blog Police1 said a witness also described the burn “victim” dropping something through the car’s window immediately beforehand and then running away.
“Other witnesses said they weren’t sure if the man who ran was running because he was involved or out of fear,” reported the blog.
Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department referred all questions to the Supreme Court Police, one of several overlapping law enforcement agencies in the District of Columbia.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press