U.S. airman dies after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy

Multiple law enforcement agencies arrived at the Israeli Embassy on Sunday afternoon after a man set himself on fire infront of the building.
Multiple law enforcement agencies arrived at the Israeli Embassy on Sunday afternoon after a man set himself on fire in front of the building.
Andrew Leyden

Aaron Bushnell, 25, died in the hospital after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Sunday in what he said on social media was an act of protest against Israel’s war in Gaza.

Bushnell was an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force and based in San Antonio, Texas, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said. He was pronounced dead at 8:06 p.m. ET Sunday.

On Sunday, the U.S. Secret Service said it was responding to reports of an individual experiencing a possible medical or mental health emergency. Local police arrived around 1 p.m.

Bushnell appeared to have livestreamed his self-immolation on the social media platform Twitch.

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Leading up the incident, Bushnell said in the video that he “will no longer be complicit in genocide.” Later, as he burned in front of the Israeli Embassy, Bushnell could be seen on the livestream yelling “Free Palestine!”

The fire was extinguished, and Bushnell, who sustained “critical life threatening injuries,” was rushed to a local hospital, according to D.C. Fire and EMS.

The Israeli Embassy in D.C. said none of its staff were injured.

The video has since been taken down by Twitch.

The incident is currently being investigated by the local police, the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Local police said the footage was part of its investigation. The U.S. Air Force said it will provide more information in the coming day after the next of kin notifications are complete.

The war in Gaza began after Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking over 250 hostage. More than 130 people remain captive in Gaza, according to the Israeli government.

Israel responded with a military assault on Gaza which, according the health ministry in the enclave, has killed over 29,000 people. Nearly 2 million people have been displaced and over 60 percent of housing has been damaged in Gaza, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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