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Man in Ohio Doused With Gasoline, Set Afire

September 22, 1993

CINCINNATI (AP) _ On a late-night stroll, Milton Metcalfe came upon two men and a pregnant woman whose pickup had stalled. He offered to help.

He went to his home nearby, got a gasoline can and bought gas at a convenience store. The truck would not start, so the men asked him to get them a cup of gas to prime the carburetor.

Metcalfe, 30, told police that one of the men then threw the cup of gas on him and the other tossed a lighted match, enveloping him in a ball of flame.

He ran screaming to a bar, where patrons tore off their shirts and used them to put out the flames. He was in critical condition Wednesday with burns over 75 percent of his body.

Police were investigating whether the attack early Tuesday in the suburb of Loveland was racially motivated. Metcalfe is black. He said his attackers were white.

The attack bore similarities to the New Year’s Day torching of Christopher Wilson, a black tourist from New York who was abducted by three white men in suburban Tampa, Fla., driven to a field, doused with gasoline and set afire. Wilson survived with burns over nearly 40 percent of his body.

A friend of Metcalfe thinks the Ohio attackers were copying those in Florida.

″That was a high-profile case of a black man being set afire,″ said the Rev. A.J. Hamilton, who lives nearby. ″Normal human beings just don’t sit around and do things like that.″

Police said no witnesses had come forward.

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