Witnesses: Man on fire in East Manatee said, 'I want to die, let me die'

Posted by MARC R. MASFERRER on June 20, 2014 

EAST MANATEE -- A 71-year-old man Friday tried to kill himself by pouring gasoline over himself and setting himself on fire, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

About 11:15 a.m., the man went to an entrance to the Silver Lake community, at Lockwood Ridge Road and 59th Avenue East, and set himself on fire, officials said.

A Manatee County Sheriff's Office crime scene unit was examining the scene, which included the man's white car.

Charred clothing and shoes could be seen on a grassy median.

Travis Miller and Micha Rhine were traveling west on 59th Avenue East, approaching Lockwood Ridge Road, when they said they saw the man on fire in the grassy median.

"We pulled up and saw the gas jug on fire, and he was laying next to it engulfed in flames, " Rhine said.

"I grabbed him by his hand and dragged him out," Miller said.

The couple then grabbed a cooler and a jug of water and dumped it on the man to douse the flames, they said. They also beat him with some blankets they had.

"He was yelling the whole time, 'I want to die, let me die,' " Rhine said.

A sheriff's detective driving by stopped and called for assistance.

The man was flown by helicopter to the burn unit at Tampa General Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.

"The victim apparently poured gas on himself and set self himself on fire in an attempt to commit suicide," the sheriff's office said in a news release Friday afternoon.

On the sign to the Silver Lake community, there were two sheets of paper with writing in a foreign language.

Check back later for more details.

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