A veteran who was fed up with treatment by the Department of Veterans Affairs set himself on fire in protest outside of the Georgia state Capitol building in downtown Atlanta on Tuesday.
The 58-year-old from Mableton, Georgia, who has not yet been identified, parked his car alongside the Capitol before walking toward the building, where he commenced self-immolation, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“He was strapped with some homemade incendiary devices (and) firecrackers, and doused himself with some kind of flammable liquid,” Georgia State Patrol Capt. Mark Perry told the AJC.
Loud explosions then began going off as the flames spread, sounds Perry attributed to fireworks strapped to the vet’s body.
As the grisly scene unfolded, a nearby police officer rushed toward the veteran with a fire extinguisher in hand to smother the inferno, the AJC reported.
The veteran was then rushed to the nearby Grady Memorial Hospital with burns to 85 to 90 percent of his body, the report said.
Streets surrounding the Capitol have been cordoned off and a bomb squad has been dispatched to the scene for fear that the veteran may have planned an attack, the report said.
A sign was positioned in the windshield of the car the veteran drove listing a phone number and instructions to call it.
“Please don’t call that number,” Perry told the AJC.
Officials believe dialing the number could trigger an explosive device.
Authorities from various organizations are on scene investigating the incident.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.