Atlanta Man Sets Himself Ablaze to Protest Veterans Affairs Agency

ATLANTA (CN) — A 58-year-old Air Force veteran set himself on fire Tuesday outside the state Capitol in downtown Atlanta in an apparent protest against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to Georgia State Patrol Captain Mark Perry, the man, whose identity has not been releases, parked a white Nissan Sentra on Washington Street on the west side of the state Capitol building Tuesday morning, and then proceeded to walk toward the entrance.

“He was strapped with some homemade incendiary devices (and) some firecrackers, and doused himself with some kind of flammable liquid and attempted to set himself on fire,” Perry said. “Almost simultaneously, one of the Capitol troopers saw what was happening, came out and actually had a fire extinguisher and was able to douse him pretty quickly.”

Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mark McDonough told Atlanta’s WSB-TV that the flammable liquid was gasoline.

The man was quickly transported to Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital with burns over 85 to 90 percent of his body.

Authorities have not reported any other injuries.

According to officials, the man indicated that he was “disgruntled” with the Veterans Affairs system and hoped to bring attention to that with his actions today.

Police evacuated the Capitol and nearby judiciary buildings and shut down streets surrounding the Capitol.

The man’s vehicle remains parked on Washington Street. A sign in the vehicle’s windshield contains a phone number with instructions to call the number.

Officials are urging the public not to call the number, fearing that calls might set off another explosive device.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s bomb squad arrived on the scene around 11 a.m. to investigate the vehicle.

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