Police in Ventura, Calif., were seeking three white men with shaved heads who allegedly doused a homeless man with lighter fluid before setting him ablaze late Saturday night, according to Los Angeles television station KTLA.
John Frazier, 58, was sleeping on the beach when he was awakened by three individuals pouring accelerant on his sleeping bag, the Los Angeles Times reported. The men then set Frazier on fire.
An unidentified person who came across the scene shortly afterwards used sand to extinguish the flames, which reached heights of five to six feet, according to the Times.
Frazier was taken to a local hospital, where he was recovering from burns on up to 40 percent of his extremities and torso, according to KCBS. The television station reported that he is expected to survive.
KTLA reported that the suspects were in their late teens or early 20s and were wearing dark clothing at the time.
People who know him told KTLA that Frazier is a military veteran and recent New Mexico transplant who had been sleeping on the beach since relocating to California.