Deputies in Clackamas County, Oregon, arrested Deshaun James Swanger, 24, on Thursday, April 20, 2017.
Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

Man accused of lighting 69-year-old on fire at Denny's restaurant

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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.

UPDATE -- SURVEILLANCE VIDEO OF SUSPECT: Sheriff's Office seeks tips following Denny's arson attack -- http://www.clackamas.us/sheriff/pressreleases/2017-04-19-CCSOPR-ArsonAttack.html UPDATE (Thursday, April 20, 5:30 p.m.) -- SURVEILLANCE VIDEO OF SUSPECT Surveillance video of the suspect entering the restaurant is now available for download from this Dropbox link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/scwe9miunk0a8hi/CCSOCase17-10537Video.mp4?dl=0 Again, anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip Line -- by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form at http://web3.clackamas.us/contact/tip.jsp -- please reference CCSO Case # 17-10537. If you see the suspect, do NOT approach -- call 911. ____________ EARLIER (Thursday, April 20, 2:53 p.m.) -- NEW SUSPECT PHOTOS Additional surveillance photos of the arson-attack suspect are now available at http://www.clackamas.us/sheriff/pressreleases/2017-04-19-CCSOPR-ArsonAttack.html [END] News-release archive: http://www.clackamas.us/sheriff/newsarchive.html Contact Info: Sergeant Dan Kraus Office of Public Information Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip Line -- by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form at http://web3.clackamas.us/contact/tip.jsp -- please reference CCSO Case # 17-10537. If seen, do not approach -- call 911. ____________ EARLIER (April 20th, 2017 9:21 AM) Please reference CCSO Case # 17-10537 The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office is seeking tips in an arson attack at a Clackamas County Denny's. A suspect photo is attached. At approximately 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, a male suspect with a lighter-skinned complexion entered the Denny's located at 12101 SE 82nd Ave. in unincorporated Clackamas County. The suspect sat down in a booth adjacent to the booth occupied by the 69-year-old male victim. Surveillance video from the business revealed that the suspect dumped an unknown liquid onto the victim and then tossed a lit item onto the victim, causing a large flash. The suspect then ran out of the restaurant and south on SE 82nd Avenue. Clackamas Fire District #1 responded. Firefighters could smell the odor of gasoline inside the building and coming from the victim. The male victim was transported to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in critical condition. The Sheriff's Office is asking the public for tips as it seeks a suspect matching the following description: - Male with lighter-skinned complexion - Mid to late 20's - 5'10" to 6' tall - Medium to muscular build - Wearing a black flat brim hat, black hooded jacket, grey sweatpants with black stripe, and black shoes A surveillance photo of the suspect is attached. Clackamas County Homicide and Violent Crimes Unit (HVCU) detectives are working with Clackamas Fire District #1 investigators and Oregon State Police arson investigators to capture this suspect. Investigators are working with the OSP Forensic Laboratory to examine evidence seized from the scene. Detectives are also working with police throughout the metro area to determine if any similar incidents can be connected to this suspect. TIPS SOUGHT Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip Line -- by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form at http://web3.clackamas.us/contact/tip.jsp -- please reference CCSO Case # 17-10537. If you see this suspect, do not approach -- call 911. [END] News-release archive: http://www.clackamas.us/sheriff/newsarchive.html Contact Info: Sergeant Dan Kraus Office of Public Information Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

Posted by Clackamas County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, April 20, 2017

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.

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