TMZ: Man Who Set Himself on Fire in D.C. Might Have Been Using PCP


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According to a Thursday update, the man who lit himself on fire near the White House Wednesday might have been high on a hard dissociative drug originally designed to be used as anesthesia.

“D.C. law enforcement sources tell TMZ … cops believe Gupta was high on a drug called K2, which was laced with PCP,” TMZ said. “We’re told responding officers saw signs Gupta was hallucinating — he also did not respond to their commands to roll over as they tried to extinguish him.”

Arnav Gupta, 33, of Bethesda, Maryland set himself on fire in Ellipse Park Wednesday. Dramatic video footage showed the engulfed man calmly walking in the park as he burned. Gupta had previously been reported missing, and authorities said that they were “concerned for Gupta’s physical and emotional welfare.”

After covering 85 percent of his body with third degree burns, Gupta succumbed to his injuries in the hospital Wednesday night.

“K2 is a synthetic THC, composed almost entirely of chemicals, which is banned in the U.S.,” TMZ said. “There have been widespread incidents of people getting violent and delusional on K2.”

Whether there was a political motive behind Gupta’s fiery display remains unknown to authorities.

TMZ said there was a “suspicious package” burning near Gupta which was subsequently extinguished. The contents of the package remain unidentified.

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