A clerk at a store in El Sobrante is recovering from severe burns that he got in an altercation with a shoplifter two weeks ago.
The man, identified only as Suraj, got into the altercation at Appian Food and Liquor in El Sobrante on September 22. As KPIX reports, the alleged shoplifter had been in the store multiple times that day, and was allegedly attempting to steal lighter fluid when he sprayed the fluid at Suraj's face and lit him on fire.
The disturbing surveillance video can be seen in the KPIX report below. Suraj is at the left of the screen, struggling with the suspect, while another clerk can be seen behind the counter fetching a baseball bat. Suraj then runs off screen.
"He just splashed lighter fluid on my face, and I was so scared that moment," Suraj tells KPIX from the hospital — the burn unit at Saint Francis Memorial in SF. "I tried to cover his hand, but I don't know. I don't remember. He just lit the fire on me you know. I just rushed to the restroom, and I just splashed water on my face."
The victim has now been hospitalized since September 22 with second and third-degree burns on his face, neck, chest, and shoulder.
"It's terrible. You know, I'm still in a trauma right now, me, my family," he said.
His wife, Sabeena, has posted a GoFundMe to help cover his medical expenses, which has so far raised $32,000 of a $100,000 goal.
"As wounds [from burns] takes time to heal and recover and we are overwhelmed by the mental trauma and the pressure of medical procedures, so we are reaching out to you to request for any support or contributions to this fundraiser," she writes.
As KRON4 reports, police arrested 38-year-old Kendall Lavanon Burton for the crime, and as of Monday he has been charged with multiple felonies including criminal mayhem. Burton has a criminal history in multiple NorCal counties dating back to 2004.