A man in a business suit doused himself with gasoline and tried to set himself on fire in front of the Exxon Building in downtown Houston Friday afternoon, reports KHOU.com.
The incident happened during rush hour and witnesses claim that he doused himself until he was soaking wet and attempted to set himself on fire with a lighter, but was stopped in time.
Police officers shielded the man from view and hosed him off with water from a firetruck before taking him to the hospital for evaluation.
“He was trying to use the lighter and the officers were trying so hard,” said witness Maria Gonzalez to the Houston Press.
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Cory Garcia, a web editor from the Houston Press, a block away, snapped photos of the man cuffed and on his knees.
“He was just sitting there, very quiet, very peaceful almost like he was meditating,” Garcia said. “I think the fact that he had a pillow with him suggest perhaps he was taking inspiration from Buddhist monks who’ve protested that way before.”
Houstonian Larry Mukes who was changing a flat tire across the street ran over to see what was happening.
“It was a couple of people saying it was because he couldn’t find a job,” Mukes said. “He was trying to find work.”
There were a lot of theories floating around from witnesses. There’s no official word if this was a suicide attempt, a protest or something else.