On Wednesday, a New York teen was placed in critical condition after a man set him on fire due to a dispute while inside a Bronx apartment building, said police officers.
Teen on fire
Police sources identified the victim as 18-year-old Winston Ortiz and noted he was stabbed three times, soaked with gasoline, and then set ablaze with a match. The incident occurred on the fifth floor of the building found in 1045 Woodycrest Avenue, Highbridge.
According to Fox News, police sources noted that the suspect entered the building 10 minutes before Ortiz, who lived two blocks away from the apartment before the crime took place.
Before emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene, two people in the building were able to put out the fire using buckets of water successfully. EMTs immediately transferred Ortiz to Harlem Hospital and was said to be in critical condition.
Another resident of the building, a 34-year-old mother, said she was notified of the incident after a woman in the hallway screamed loudly after seeing the victim.
Wishing to stay anonymous, the woman said she stepped outside her room and saw flames raging. She noted she thought the apartment was on fire but when she took a closer look, saw a teenager covered with fire.
The witness and the screaming girl's mother, who both lived on the sixth floor of the building, grabbed buckets of water and drenched Ortiz in an attempt to douse the flames. It was not stated if the teenage girl knew the victim or had any affiliation with him.
The incident had severely traumatized the 34-year-old mother who was frightened for her daughters who were living with her. She noted it was a very disturbing and concerning incident and worries for the safety of the people in the building.
A quiet kid
A friend of Ortiz's family, 37-year-old Susan Coles, said the victim was a simple Christian boy from a religious family and was very active in his church. Coles noted Ortiz graduated from Lighthouse Charter School and was a relatively quiet kid and said she could not believe he would be involved in something like the incident, as reported by NY Daily News.
Police officers said they are looking for a 17-year-old Hispanic teen who stood about 5-foot-10 or 5-foot-11, wore black clothes, and carried a book bag and a blue surgical mask.
Residents of the building on the fifth floor immediately rushed to the scene after they heard the teenage girl screaming in the hallway and tried to help Ortiz, who was on fire.
The 34-year-old mother said she panicked when she first saw the scene and told her daughter to call 911. She noted another woman came and helped her douse the fire with buckets of water. Several other residents of the building approached and passed buckets of water and were able to put the flames out. Despite successfully putting the fires out, Ortiz was too badly burned to be recognized, said the mother.