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Surveillance footage has emerged showing a horrific incendiary attack that left a store clerk in California's Bay Area grievously injured.
The victim of the Sept. 22 attack, who identified himself only as Suraj for fear of reprisals, told KPIX-TV that he has seen his share of criminality in the five years he has worked at Appian Food and Liquor in El Sobrante, but nothing quite like this. Now, the mirror will serve as a constant reminder of the lawlessness now affecting much of the Democrat-run state.
Suraj's coworkers warned him ahead of his shift that a serial shoplifter had made multiple trips to the store to steal lighter fluid. Sure enough, the 38-year-old suspect, later identified by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office as Kendall Burton, returned to the store, apparently ready to once again take advantage of California's Proposition 47, which effectively decriminalized thefts under $950 in 2014.
Suraj can be seen in the surveillance footage confronting the homeless shoplifter while his coworker arms himself with a baseball bat. Before his coworker is able to close the distance and start swinging, the shoplifter douses the victim with lighter fluid then sets him ablaze.
"He just splashed lighter fluid on my face, and I was so scared that moment," he told KPIX. "I tried to cover his hand, but I don’t know. I don’t remember. He just lit the fire on me, you know."
Despite the flames consuming his flesh, Suraj nevertheless managed to get to the bathroom and splash himself with water.
The footage shows the attacker casually resume his thievery before Suraj's coworker finally tees off on him with the baseball bat.
Suraj survived the attack with second- and third-degree burns all over his face, neck, chest, and shoulder and has been hospitalized at San Francisco’s Saint Francis Memorial Hospital ever since.
The pain is "terrible," he told KPIX, noting that "when we clean the wound, it's like over 10."
"I'm still in a trauma right now, me, my family," added Suraj, who reportedly requires multiple surgeries.
His wife, Sabeena, started a GoFundMe campaign to help their family through Suraj's recovery.
Kendall is being held without bail and faces charges including assault with a deadly weapon, battery, arson, and robbery. It's unclear whether he'll ultimately face justice for his alleged crimes, since Contra Costa County's Democrat district attorney is Diana Becton, a radical leftist whose 2022 campaign received roughly $1 million in funding from George Soros, reported the Daily Mail.
Since Becton first assumed office in 2017, crime has been an issue for the area.
While she rushed to charge protesters who defaced a BLM mural in 2020 with a hate crime, Becton issued internal guidelines in June 2020, encouraging prosecutors to consider whether looters "need[ed]" the stolen goods.
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.