San Francisco homeless man killed after being set on fire in sleeping bag

Police are investigating and have appealed for information

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 13 October 2021 18:18

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A homeless man in San Francisco was killed after he was allegedly set alight while sleeping in his sleeping bag, authorities have said.

The 43-year-old male victim, who has not been identified, was asleep when he was set alight on 8 October at around 5am.

He woke up and found his sleeping bag had been set alight, in an incident that was treated as an aggravated assault with fire at first.

It happened in the area of 25th Street and South Van Ness Avenue, a thoroughfare cutting north to south through San Francisco, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) told The Independent.

Police say the man suffered injuries to his lower body and was transported to a local hospital for treatment, where he died the following day.

The San Francisco Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has classified the incident as a homicide and an investigation is ongoing.

On Wednesday, San Francisco investigations commander R Vaswani tweeted that his “Homicide [unit] is investigating a case in which a person asleep in a sleeping bag on the sidewalk at 25th/South Vanness was lit on fire & died.”

Police have called on any witnesses or anybody with information to come forward, with the SFPD Tip Line at 1-415-575-4444 or Text TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.

San Francisco had among the highest rates of homelessness in the US before Covid last year, and according to figures in May, there were 383 tents in the city hosting homeless people.

A further 887 were sleeping in vehicles, and as many as 10,000 more were placed in homeless shelters, according to CBS SF Bay Area.