Oakland, California news station KTVU has a bizarre story about a 16-year-old who set another passenger on fire while he slept on a public bus. Investigators are still trying to figure out why the unnamed teen intentionally set an 18-year-old on fire on AC Transit bus Monday. One passenger told the news station that he thinks the crime was inspired by video games including Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt, but police are not (at least at the moment) blaming anything other than the defendant. At the moment they don't have a motive for the crime.
Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said the teen was arrested by officers from her department and the school district's police force. At the time of the incident he managed to flee the scene with other passengers, but surveillance footage from the bus helped police identify him.
The victim, 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman (pictured left), was set on fire at about 5:20 p.m. on Monday by the defendant. Fellow passengers noticed that he was on fire and alerted the bus driver, who quickly stopped the bus to call for help. When police arrived, they found that the victim had suffered from burns to his lower body. He was sent to the burn center at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco where he was treated for second- and third-degree burns.
Tafari Flenoy told KTVU that he thinks the crime may have been inspired by video games.
“It's weird, that's all I can really say. Do you know of a video game where people are setting each other on fire? A bunch, Manhunt, All the Grand Theft Autos, which is my favorite by the way,” Flenoy said.
Anyone with information about the assault can call the Oakland Police Department's Major Crimes Section at (510) 238-3426 or the anonymous tip line at (510) 777-2805.
Friends of Fleischman, who is a senior at Maybeck High School in Berkeley, have set up a fundraising website at fundly.com/helping-sasha-fleischman-have-a-speedy-recovery to help him pay for his hospital bills.