A disgruntled veteran set himself on fire in downtown Atlanta, Georgia outside the state Capitol on Tuesday, the Georgia State Patrol says. The 58-year-old Air Force veteran used homemade fireworks to light himself on fire in protest of the U.S. Veterans Affairs administration.
The incident occurred at around 10:45 a.m. when the veteran parked his Nissan Sentra on Washington Street, stepped out and walked toward the Capitol, Georgia State Patrol Capt. Mark Perry told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"He was strapped with some homemade incendiary devices and firecrackers, and doused himself with some kind of flammable liquid," before lighting the fireworks, Perry said.
After several loud explosions, a state trooper from inside the Capitol quickly doused the fire with an extinguisher, authorities said. The veteran was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital with burns on 85-90 percent of his body.
WSB-TV 2 reports that the man was alert and speaking after the explosion and was trying to bring attention to the Veterans Affairs administration.
The veteran has a sign in his car windshield saying to call a phone number.
"Please don't call that number," Perry said. Officials fear that calling the number may set off another explosive device.
Multiple agencies are on scene, including the GBI bomb squad, which is examining the veteran's vehicle. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is also en route. A K-9 unit is also being used to investigate the scene. A bomb robot was brought to the scene to make sure there were no other explosives in the area.
Officials are still looking for potential additional threats while roads around the Capitol are closed.
The Capitol and judiciary buildings have bene evacuated, and as a precaution, workers moved children from a day care associated with the Central Presbyterian Church to a neighboring Catholic church.
No one inside or around the building was hurt in the explosion, troopers said.
All of Ga State Capitol square considered a crime scene. NEW from GSP: no injuries in Capitol. Also: veteran transported to Grady, he’s under guard. Doused himself w gasoline and set off fireworks. @wsbtv #breaking pic.twitter.com/RmTRlPoz0L— Linda Stouffer (@LindaWSB) June 26, 2018
The sound of the explosion was heard during a nearby news conference by the Georgia State Patrol and other agencies about Georgia's new hands-free law, which takes effect on July 1, FOX 5 reports. State troopers participating in the news conference rushed to the area where the explosions came from, interrupting the news conference.
"It looks like a veteran that was disgruntled with the VA did a personal protest in front of the Capitol which involved gasoline and some fireworks," Commissioner Mark McDonough of the Georgia Department of Public Safety told reporters at the scene.