Woman set on fire in L.A. as she sleeps on bus bench

A burned city bus bench seen in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles on Thursday Dec. 27,2012 after police arrested a man for allegedly setting a 67-year-old woman on fire who was sleeping on the bus stop bench.
Greg Risling

LOS ANGELES Los Angeles police have arrested a man for allegedly setting a 67-year-old woman on fire as she was sleeping on a bus bench.

Authorities say the man, who is in his 20s, was arrested early Thursday. His name was not immediately released.

Police say the attack occurred shortly after 1 a.m. outside a drug store. A witness said he saw a man come out of the store and pour something on the woman before striking a match and setting her ablaze.

The woman, who may be homeless, was taken to a hospital and listed in critical condition.

CBS Los Angeles reports that just before the attack, witness Erickson Ipina reported seeing the suspect, who was dressed in a security jacket, buy what appeared to be rubbing alcohol from a nearby Walgreens.

"He just poured it all over the old lady and then threw the match on her and started running," Ipina said.

Ipina then chased the suspect.

"I said, 'Hey stop right there! Stop right there!' He kept running and I pulled out my cell phone and called 911 and then he just turned back on me and pulled out a knife," he said.

CBS Los Angeles reports that Ipina continued to follow the man until he was arrested by Los Angeles police for attempted murder.

Last week, a 55-year-old man was set on fire as he slept outside a doughnut shop in southern Los Angeles County. No one has been arrested.

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