An Oregon man has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly set another man on fire at a Denny’s restaurant in the city of Happy Valley.
According to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Deshaun James Swanger walked into the restaurant Wednesday night and sat down in a booth.
The 24-year-old suspect then allegedly poured gasoline on a man sitting in a booth near him, then lit matches that he threw at the victim, according to KGW.
Officials said unreleased surveillance video shows Swanger running out of the restaurant after a large flash near the victim, who was later identified as 69-year-old Scott Ranstrom. Authorities say Swanger and Ranstrom did not know each other.
The victim was taken to a nearby hospital where he is being treated for critical injuries, according to his sister, Leslie Kurtz.
“I went to see him and I thought, ‘It wouldn’t be that bad, could it?’ No, it’s worse,” she told KOIN TV. “He’s in critical condition… it’s horrible. Whoever did this is horrible.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay for Ranstrom’s medical bills.
Denny’s released this statement about the incident:
“We are deeply disturbed by the senseless, random act of violence that took place at our franchised-owned Happy Valley restaurant, and our thoughts and prayers are with our guest that was seriously injured.”
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Brian Jensen told The Oregonian that the attack appears to have been random and not a hate crime.
However, detectives are investigating whether there is a connection between the Denny’s attack and a similar one that happened Sunday night at a local movie theater during a showing of “The Fate of the Furious.”
Swanger was arrested Thursday night at a transitional home a few blocks away from the restaurant, according to KGW.
A neighbor who used to live at the home with Swanger saw surveillance video of the suspect in the Denny’s parking lot and believed it was his former roommate. He then called in a tip to the sheriff’s office.
The neighbor also told KGW he was surprised by the allegations.
“He was really quiet...he stayed to himself,” he said.
Swanger is currently in the Clackamas County Jail without bail. His previous criminal history includes charges of robbery, burglary and assault.