JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man is recovering in the Gainesville burn unit after police said someone intentionally set him on fire just before 10 p.m. Tuesday night near the intersection of Main and Union streets.
Investigators said they used surveillance video from a nearby business to identify a possible suspect. That person was found a short time later at State and Pearl street and was being questioned, police said.
They later announced the arrest of 54-year-old Michael Smith on an attempted murder charge.
Police said it appears someone doused the victim with some type of flammable liquid and then set him on fire.
People in the area were able to put the fire out themselves by the time first responders got to the scene.
The man’s injuries were so serious he had to be airlifted to the burn center at UF Health Shands in Gainesville.
Police did not know the motive yet.