On Friday, Oct. 19, at 7pm, Long Beach Police Department officers responded to a call of a possible structure fire at a market in the 200 block of W. Pacific Coast Highway. The incident resulted in serious injury to a 54-year-old male after he had been set on fire by another man who had ignited a bottle of flammable liquid and thrown it at him.
According to witness statements, the suspect had ignited the Molotov cocktail before throwing it at the feet of the victim who had been waiting outside for a relative who was shopping inside. The suspect had then fled from the area on foot and out of sight.
The victim immediately caught on fire and ran from the initial scene to the parking lot. It was there that people ran to his aid and were eventually able to extinguish the flames. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of burns to his body, and he is listed in critical but stable condition.
Although there were other people in the immediate area, including a woman and her small child in a stroller, no injuries were sustained by others.
As the subsequent investigation unfolded, LBPD obtained video footage from the market. The video was uploaded to YouTube and released to the media, along with a plea to the community for help in identifying the suspect. The incident was widely covered and, as a result, an individual with information regarding the crime contacted investigators.
Information led detectives to a residential complex located in the 7800 block of E. Spring Street Wednesday night, Oct. 23, where a subject was detained. That individual has been identified as 27-year-old Jacob Lagarde of Long Beach, who was arrested and booked for attempted murder, mayhem, possession of an explosive, arson causing great bodily injury, and a probation violation. He is being held at the Long Beach City Jail without bail. Lagarde affiliates with an out-of-town gang and has an extensive criminal record.
According to the LBPD, this investigation continues to be a complex and fast-evolving one that will take investigators time to process the evidence collected. It is unknown if the victim and suspect knew each another, and a motive for this crime is still unclear.
Based on the video footage, there are additional witnesses that have not come forward, and detectives are encouraging them to provide information.
The detectives have been in communication with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and will continue working with them throughout this investigation.
Anyone who may have witnessed this incident who has not yet spoken with detectives is encouraged to call the Long Beach Fire Department’s Arson Hotline at (562) 570-2582. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 1-800-222-TIPS, texting “TIPLA” plus the tip to CRIMES, or visiting lacrimestoppers.org .