LA homeless woman set on fire (VIDEO)


Police in Los Angeles have arrested a 24-year-old man on charges he doused a homeless woman with flammable liquid and set her on fire as she slept on a bus bench in Van Nuys.


Kevork Djansezian

A homeless woman is in critical condition today after being doused with flammable liquid and set on fire while sleeping on a bus bench in Los Angeles.

Police arrested 24-year-old Dennis Petillo on suspicion of attempted murder in the attack Thursday night, The Associated Press reported.

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According to witness, Petillo walked out of a nearby Walgreens and then doused the 67-year-old woman with flammable liquid, tossed a match on her and ran away.

Witness Dennis Ipina told KTLA he chased Petillo down and called 911 with his cellphone.

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There's no motive in the case, which has rattled even seasoned veterans of the Los Angeles Police Department.

"There was no incident or dispute or clear motivation for this horrific attack. He did not know his victim. It defies explanation," LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese told the Los Angeles Times. "He is not of sound mind.... The motive is mental illness."

Authorities have not identified the woman, but Van Nuys residents told KTLA she was known as Flo Parker or Violet.