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Officers, suspect burned in confrontation

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POSTED July 9, 2014 8:42 p.m.

CEDAR HILL, Texas (AP) — A man armed with a bottle of flammable liquid set himself and a police officer ablaze Wednesday before another officer shot the suspect at a suburban Dallas shopping strip, police said.

Three officers were burned with the suspect at a Cedar Hill chicken wing restaurant, with one being airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, city spokesman Corky Brown said. The suspect also was taken to Parkland, while the other two officers were taken to a nearby hospital, he said. Information on the severity of their injuries was not available.

The man was suspected in a nearby burglary when officers pursued him into the Wingstop restaurant and tried to subdue him about 3 p.m. Wednesday, police Lt. Charles Reiss said. Witnesses said a female officer brandished a stun gun and the man yelled, “I’m going to set myself and the restaurant on fire.”

The suspect, who reeked of gasoline and was holding a bottle of flammable liquid, set himself and the female officer on fire, Reiss said.

“Ten seconds into the Wingstop, you hear screaming,” said witness Robert Gonzales. “That’s when the man left the Wingstop completely on fire. He looked like a human torch. He had no facial features.”

The female officer also ran into the lot, fully ablaze, Gonzales said, so he and another man, Spencer Stroud, ran to tried to smother the flames. Stroud said the suspect continued to pour liquid from the bottle on himself.

The other officers chased the blazing suspect and tried to smother his flames, before one officer finally shot the man, Brown said. Aside from the bottle, a yellow lighter was found at the scene, Brown said.

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