Support for LAist comes from
True LA stories, powered by you
Stay Connected

Share This

News

Homeless Woman Set On Fire in Van Nuys [UPDATED]

LAist relies on reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.

A man has been arrested for allegedly setting a homeless woman on fire as she slept on a bus bench outside a Van Nuys drugstore.

The victim, a 67-year-old woman who was often seen outside the Walgreens at Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way, was lying on a bus bench at around 1 a.m. Thursday when the crime took place, according to a live report on KTLA. The suspect, a man in his 20s, allegedly went inside the store and purchased an accelerant that he then poured onto the sleeping woman before tossing a lit match on her body, reports City News Service.

A witness who saw the suspect exit the store and set the woman on fire called 911 to report the crime, then followed the suspect until authorities arrived on scene. The unidentified suspect was then taken into custody by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department.

The victim is hospitalized in critical condition; should she not survive, the suspect's charge will be elevated to reflect his alleged role in her death.

Support for LAist comes from

UPDATE: The suspect has been identified as 24-year-old Dennis Petillo. He was booked today on suspicion of attempted murder, according to the LAPD.