New York City homeless man allegedly torched by teenagers

Saturday, October 6, 2007

125th Street in East Harlem, NYC.

Police in New York are searching for three teenagers accused of setting a homeless man in New York City on fire yesterday.

Felix Najera was bedded down outside the Iglesia Christiana Betania on East 103rd Street in the East Harlem section of Manhattan.

Reports indicate that the teenagers threw a gasoline-soaked towel on the man, and set him on fire.

Homeless advocates are calling this incident one of the most senseless and severe acts in recent memory. Mary Brosnahan, the executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless said, "I haven't heard of an incident like this in many years in New York."

Najera is an alcoholic and often asks passers-by for cigarettes, but many residents consider him to be harmless.

"It's a shame. He doesn't bother anybody," said Gary Williams. Another resident said, "They don't have no respect for life itself." Pastor Ariel Soto said "it's an act of evil."

Officials say that Najera suffered second and third degree burns to nearly 75 percent of his body.

Najera is 49-years-old and is in critical condition at Cornell Medical Center.

Police say no arrests have been made thus far.