Police in Santa Monica, California, are seeking an individual who set a sleeping homeless man on fire about 11:35 p.m. October 16. The attack left the man with burns on 50 percent of his body.
"A homeless male was asleep in Ozone Park when he was doused with an unknown liquid, then set on fire," Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) Lieutenant Rudy Flores said in a press release.
Ozone Park is a small neighborhood park approximately one mile east of Venice Beach.
Police didn't release the victim's name. However, they said the man also had a 2-inch laceration on the top of his head, possibly from blunt force trauma. The victim is currently in stable condition and recovering at a local hospital.
SMPD officers described the assailant as a man between 5'6" and 5'8" tall. On the night of the attack, the attacker wore a hat, a long-sleeved white shirt and dark shorts. Police have asked anyone with information to contact them.
When a human body is set aflame, the flame can run hundreds or thousands of degrees Fahrenheit, according to The Los Angeles Times. If a person's clothes catch fire, it can cause the flames to burn hotter and deeper.
The flames cause the skin and muscle underneath to shrink, due to loss of water and blood. If the flames reach the fat layer under the skin, the fat can feed the fire. The flames also consume nearby oxygen while releasing poisonous carbon monoxide fumes. Victims are sometimes left gasping for air as they try to extinguish the flames.