Disgruntled with the Department of Veterans Affairs, a veteran set himself on fire in protest Tuesday morning outside the state Capitol in downtown Atlanta, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
The GBI identified the man as 58-year-old John Michael Watts. He has no current address, the agency said.
The man involved in today’s #GAStateCapitol incident has been identified as John Michael Watts, age 58. He has no current address. pic.twitter.com/gRQU1HQB0u— GA Bureau of Invest (@GBI_GA) June 26, 2018
About 10:45 a.m., the Air Force veteran parked a Nissan Sentra on Washington Street, stepped out of the car and walked toward the Capitol, GSP Capt. Mark Perry told AJC.com.
Video: DEVELOPING - Disgruntled veteran sets himself on fire outside Georgia Capitol, GSP says -https://t.co/UmUIZsaQCm #Atlanta pic.twitter.com/FZqAui4Oth— John Spink (@johnjspink) June 26, 2018
“He was strapped with some homemade incendiary devices (and) firecrackers, and doused himself with some kind of flammable liquid” before lighting the fireworks, he said.
Several loud explosions were heard, and a trooper quickly put out the fire with an extinguisher, according to authorities.
Watts was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital with burns over 85 to 90 percent of his body, Perry said.
No other injuries were reported.
Commissioner Mark McDonough telling us about what started emergency at the State Capitol. Washington Street closed. @wsbtv #breaking pic.twitter.com/3OJ35t36sz— Linda Stouffer (@LindaWSB) June 26, 2018
The Capitol and judiciary buildings were evacuated. Workers were forced to move children from a day care associated with Central Presbyterian Church to a neighboring Catholic church as a precaution, according to officials.
The area has been secured, Atlanta police said on Twitter.
UPDATE: The all clear has been given after the APD SWAT Team worked with multiple other agencies to secure the area around the State Capitol. We worked remotely with our robots to check out the scene where a man set himself on fire. pic.twitter.com/Pn4NWbwBTF— Atlanta Police Dept (@Atlanta_Police) June 26, 2018
All roads in the area were reopened by 6:15 p.m., according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.
TRAFFIC UPDATE: Atlanta: GA State Capitol Explosion: Washington St and other roads around the Capitol; are now All Open; no delays; https://t.co/kTgeaYu0Zi; #ATLtraffic— Triple Team Traffic (@WSBTraffic) June 26, 2018
Multiple agencies were on the scene earlier. The GBI emptied the car and bomb techs examined the contents.
Bomb tech moving contents out of suspect’s car after veteran sets himself on fire outside Georgia Capitol - https://t.co/UmUIZsaQCm #Atlanta pic.twitter.com/XRn5P379sU— John Spink (@johnjspink) June 26, 2018
— Staff writer Chris Joyner contributed to this article.