Store clerk's head set on fire with stolen lighter fluid as he confronts serial shoplifter (video)
Disturbing surveillance footage out of the Bay Area in California shows a serial shoplifter setting a store clerk’s head on fire with stolen lighter fluid after he tried to stop the alleged thief from stealing.
Suraj — the store clerk who declined to reveal his last name out of fear of being targeted again — is seen on video tussling with Kendall Burton before he doused Suraj’s head in lighter fluid on Sept. 22 at the Appian Food and Liquor in El Sobrante, according to a video obtained by CBS News.
In the video, another worker is seen rushing to Suraj’s rescue with a baseball bat seconds before flames instantly consume the clerk’s head after Burton ignites the fluid in the heat of the confrontation.
“I tried to cover his hand, but I don’t know. I don’t remember. He just lit the fire on me you know,” Suraj told the outlet.
“I just rushed to the restroom, and I just splashed water on my face.”
Suraj — who has been working at the store for the past five years — said he and other workers at the Bay Area store deal with shoplifters regularly, but nothing to this magnitude has ever happened.
Co-workers warne the clerk at the start of his shift that Burton had been in the store multiple times that day to steal lighter fluid.
“He just splashed lighter fluid on my face, and I was so scared that moment,” Suraj told the outlet.
Suraj suffered second and third-degree burns to his face, neck, chest, and shoulder.
The clerk has been hospitalized at San Francisco’s Saint Francis Memorial Hospital since the horrifying attack and shared that the incident has affected not only him but his family.
The clerk will need several surgeries as a result of the burns he suffered at the hands of Burton’s attack.Gofundme
“It’s terrible,” Suraj told the outlet from his hospital bed.
“You know, I’m still in a trauma right now, me, my family,” Suraj told the outlet from his hospital bed.
He will need several surgeries as a result of his burns.
“When we clean the wound, it’s like over 10,” the clerk said of the pain he’s experiencing in the aftermath of the attack.
Co-workers warned Suraj that Burton had been in the store multiple times that day to steal lighter fluid.KPIX 5
The Appian Food and Liquor store is about 20 miles southwest of Downtown San Francisco.
“First of all, I would like to say nobody has to go through this kind of situation, and the small stores should have more security or something like that,” Surja told the outlet.
“The workplace should be safer.”
The Appian Food and Liquor store is about 20 miles southwest of Downtown San Francisco.KPIX 5
Suraj’s wife, Sabeena, has started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her husband’s physical and mental care as he embarks on his journey to recovery.
“Wounds by the burn takes time to heal and recover and we are overwhelmed by the mental trauma and the pressure of medical procedures,” Sabeena wrote on the fundraising site.
Burton, 38, was arrested following his total disregard for human life, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office told the outlet.
Known to authorities as a homeless man in the El Sobrante area, Burton faces charges including assault with a deadly weapon, battery, arson, and robbery.
He is being held without bail.
During the tussle, Kendall Burton pours lighter fluid on the clerk’s head and ignites it. KPIX 5