Man Smelling of Gasoline Questioned in Elevator Burning Death
(NEW YORK) — A man who walked into a police precinct house smelling of gasoline is being questioned in the death of a woman who was set on fire in her apartment building elevator in a horrific attack that was caught on surveillance video, New York police said Sunday.
The 47-year-old man, who walked into a Brooklyn police station shortly after the attack Saturday, has not been charged, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.
Police did not release the man’s name, but Browne said he knew Deloris Gillespie, the 64-year-old woman who was killed.
The video from the two surveillance cameras show a man dressed like an exterminator waiting outside the elevator when its doors opened on the floor where Gillespie lived.
“It was apparent he knew she was on the elevator,” Browne said Saturday.
The attacker stepped in and began spraying Gillespie, who was carrying bags of groceries. To protect herself, she turned and crouched as the man continued spraying her face, head and body.
She moved farther back into the elevator, but the man, using a thin, flaming, long-stemmed torch, lit a rag that was stuffed in a bottle and set her afire with it.
He backed out of the elevator as she fell to the floor, then tossed the bottle onto her.
Photos of the attacker, released by police, show him in a black jacket and what appear to be surgical gloves, with a white dust mask on top of his head. He was holding a canister and, from it, spraying a liquid that police have not yet identified.
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