Gas station blaze: Suspect was ‘chasing me around with his shirt on fire,’ clerk says

California

A man suspected of fighting with a gas station clerk and setting an Anaheim Chevron on fire Monday morning was in custody and being treated for burns at a local hospital, police said.

Police received a call from the clerk around 3:40 a.m. reporting that a someone was trying to set the gas pumps on fire at the station located in the 2500 block of East La Palma Avenue.

While waiting for officers to arrive, the clerk ended up in a confrontation with the suspect, a spokesperson for the Anaheim Police Department said.

“He was chasing me around with his shirt on fire,” the clerk, Tuan Nguyen, said after the incident.

The suspect eventually entered the store and started to smoke cigarettes behind the counter using his burning shirt to light them, Nguyen said.  

Nguyen then got a crowbar and confronted the suspect again in hopes of getting him out of the store but decided to leave after struggling with the man.

“I felt it was useless for me to fight him and I broke away and ran outside the store. That’s when the store caught on fire,” Nguyen said.

Police arrived as Nguyen was exiting and saw the suspect setting the interior of the gas station on fire, the spokesperson said.

Officers used a Taser and a non-lethal shotgun round to subdue the suspect and pull him out of the burning gas station.

The suspect suffered burns and was taken to a local hospital to be treated.

He will be charged with arson and assault with a deadly weapon after treatment, the Police Department stated.

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