'He's Burning Himself Alive': Man Lights Himself on Fire Near White House and Later Dies
Some three hours after he was last seen at his Maryland home on Wednesday, a 33-year-old man re-appeared near the White House where he set himself on fire in a grisly scene that was captured by other pedestrians.
“Dude what the f—, that’s not a stunt,” said one witness, according to graphic video of the incident obtained by TMZ.
Another voice asks, “Where are the police?”
The footage shows Arnav Gupta jog and then begin to walk across The Ellipse, a public park south of the White House, as his entire body is engulfed in flames.
In the clip, Gupta then stops moving and stands still until authorities arrive to extinguish him.
“This guy’s killing— he’s burning himself alive,” said the witness whose video was published by TMZ.
According to the Secret Service, Gupta set himself on fire about 12:20 p.m. on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, the U.S. Park Police announced that he had died Wednesday night after being hospitalized.
A motive — whether it might have been politically motivated — was not immediately clear.
Washington, D.C., police, who have assumed the case from Park Police, declined to comment to PEOPLE beyond confirming it was a “death investigation.”
Gupta had been reported missing by his family on Wednesday morning, Maryland police tell PEOPLE. He was last seen leaving his Bethesda-area home about 9:20 a.m.
In a news release announcing his disappearance and seeking the public’s help, Montgomery County police said they were “concerned for Gupta’s physical and emotional welfare.”
Police are working to confirm the kind of accelerant used in the fire, according to the Washington Post.
Gupta’s family could not be reached on Thursday.