Deputies arrested a 24-year-old man Thursday night after authorities said he set a 69-year-old man on fire at an Oregon Denny’s restaurant.
Deshaun James Swanger, of Milwaukie, Oregon, was charged with attempted murder after the attack Wednesday at a Denny’s in Happy Valley. He was apprehended at a transitional house after a neighbor and former roommate called to report his whereabouts, KATU reported.
"It's disgusting to me, hearing what happened to this elderly man," neighbor Buck Sleight told KATU. "He didn't deserve that, so anything they give him, he's going to get what he deserves."
Deputies asked for help identifying Swanger through surveillance images after the attack sent a 69-year-old man to the hospital with critical injuries.
Swanger sat in a booth adjacent to the one his victim was in around 9 p.m. Wednesday, deputies said. He dumped what appeared to be gasoline on the man before throwing lit item on the victim, causing a flash.
He ran from the restaurant, deputies said.
In a statement released to KGW, Denny’s said employees were “deeply disturbed” by the “random act of violence.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our guest that was seriously injured,” the statement said. “Both guests and team members acted quickly to help this guest and ensure the safety of others in the restaurant. We are actively assisting authorities in their investigation.”
Authorities are also investigating whether Swanger might have been behind a separate incident reported Sunday night at the Clackamas Town Center, according to The Oregonian. During a showing of “The Fat of the Furious,” a man dumped what appeared to be gasoline from a water bottle onto another man
Witness Ron Steinhauser told KATU that he saw someone light a book of matches and throw it onto the gas-covered man.
“The flames started to catch, I think, on his arm, but it went out very quickly with his movement,” Steinhauser told the news station.
The attacker ran before authorities arrived.