Police are on the lookout for a hateful bigot who set fire to a town’s Pride flag and nearly got caught in the ensuing ball of flames.
Security cameras recorded a man, who was wearing a ball cap and short sleeve t-shirt, approaching the LGBTQ+ display in Lansing, Michigan on 28 June. The Pride flag was displayed next to an American flag on a sign that reads “Growing in Community” on Michigan Avenue.
The man pulled out a container of some kind of flammable substance and poured it on the inclusive display before setting it aflame with a lighter. The Pride flag immediately burst into a giant wall of flames, nearly setting the perpetrator on fire in the process.
The still-unidentified man then quickly walked away as the fire burned wildly behind him. Witnesses told WILX that they saw a man wearing all black running away from the scene.
Monica Wright told Storyful that she had attached one of her trail cameras to a municipal light pole to watch over the LGBTQ+ flag as several Pride displays had been destroyed in the area.
“Several of the flags have been sawed off, and the torching of the flag was something that we knew could happen but never thought we would see,” Wright said.
Lansing Police Department chief Ellery Sosbee told WILX authorities are still searching for the man, and the police are looking to see if the hateful incident is linked to a series of Pride flag disappearances in the area.
“The Lansing Police Department strives for every citizen to feel safe in the city of Lansing,” Sosebee said. “Our goal is to assure the City of Lansing is a safe place to live work and visit for everyone, including the LGBTQ+ community.”
Sosebee vowed the police will “seek the appropriate prosecution for any of these crimes”.
Anyone with information about the incident has been asked to contact the Lansing Police department at (517) 483-4600.