Suspect arrested for setting elderly man on fire in Honolulu Chinatown

  • Charles Burns, 29, was arrested for allegedly setting an elderly man on fire in Honolulu’s Chinatown on Tuesday.
  • Surveillance footage shows a man trailing behind the victim before setting his shirt ablaze with what appeared to be a lighter.
  • Burns, who was reported to be homeless, was charged with first-degree arson and promoting dangerous drugs in connection to the incident.
  • Court records reportedly show he has more than a dozen arrests, including citations for theft, assault and property damage.

Honolulu police arrested a man who allegedly set an elderly man on fire in Chinatown earlier this week.

Charles Burns, 29, was found carrying a pipe and taken into custody on Wednesday, authorities said.

The incident, which left the 79-year-old victim with first- and second-degree burns, occurred at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza in the 100 block of N. Beretania Street at around 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

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Surveillance footage of the incident shows a man trailing the victim before using what appears to be a lighter to set his shirt ablaze.

Burns, who was reported to be homeless, was immediately recognized by the local community.

“We all know it’s him. Everybody in downtown knows it’s him,” John Fielding, a volunteer minister at Our Lady of Peace Cathedral in Honolulu, told Hawaii News Now.

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“He was engaging in drug use. He’s very belligerent and he’s actually been aggressive towards me in the past.”

A security guard reportedly called the police after spotting Burns when he returned to the crime scene.

Image: Chinatown Cultural Plaza

Burns was charged with first-degree arson and promoting dangerous drugs in connection to the incident. He was reported to have over a dozen arrests but no convictions.

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Court records show Burns was cited for fourth-degree criminal property damage in November 2020. He was cited for the same offense and third-degree assault in July 2021.

Last December, he was cited for two counts of theft in the third degree.

Investigation into the case is ongoing.

 

Featured Image via HawaiiNewsNow

 

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