Veteran protesting VA sets himself on fire at Georgia Capitol

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Georgia Capitol

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

An Air Force veteran disgruntled with the U.S. Veterans Administration set himself on fire Tuesday outside the Georgia state Capitol in downtown Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSBTV.

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Update 9:15 p.m. EDT June 26: The veteran who set himself on fire has been identified as John Michael Watts, 58, from Mabelton, Georgia.

Investigators confirmed the scene around the Capitol was cleared late Tuesday evening after Watts set himself on fire Tuesday morning outside the Capitol building.

Authorities spent the day searching for additional explosives or any other incendiary devices that Watts may have placed at the Capitol. They cleared the scene just before 6 p.m.

(Original story)

Law enforcement officials were searching Tuesday afternoon for devices that might have been left in the area after the man, identified as a 58-year-old veteran from Mableton, Georgia, doused himself in an unidentified flammable liquid and set himself on fire around 10:30 a.m., WSBTV and the AJC reported.

Several loud explosions were heard during the incident, according to the AJC. Troopers told WSBTV that the man, who's name has not been released, had homemade incendiary devices and fireworks on him. No shots were fired.

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A state trooper spotted the man and put out the fire with an extinguisher, officials told the AJC.

The man was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital with burns on 85 to 90 percent of his body, WSBTV reported. He was conscious and able to speak with law enforcement officials after the explosion.

Authorities said he told them he was upset with the Veterans' Administration, WSBTV reported.

Officials found a sign with a phone number on it in the Nissan Sentra that the man drove to the Capitol on Tuesday morning, according to WSBTV and the AJC. Police asked people not to call the number in fear that it might set off another device.


No one else was injured in the incident.

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