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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Gainesville police subdued a man who was threatening to light himself on fire Tuesday morning outside of Gainesville's Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center.

The man, who remains unidentified, cut himself across his chest with a 4-inch knife, wrapped himself in a gasoline-soaked flag and threatened to put a lighter to the flag, said Gainesville Police Department spokeswoman Officer Summer Hallett.

The man had a can of gasoline with him and began to pour it around himself when police arrived at the hospital, located off of Archer Road and Southwest 16th Street, Hallett said.

After the man refused the officers' requests to put down his knife and lighter, police fired two "bean bag" shots - non-lethal rounds made of the same material as bean bags - both of which hit the man in his chest and stunned him.

The man, who Hallett said is a veteran, was handed over to hospital staff for treatment.

He will not be charged with a crime, Hallett said.

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