Homeless person burned in attack near Lincoln Park, source says

A fire next to a freeway underpass.
A homeless encampment burns at South Grand Avenue and West 54th Street, next to the 110 Freeway, in October 2020.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

A homeless person was burned after a flammable liquid was thrown at them near a Lincoln Park encampment Wednesday, a law enforcement official told The Times.

Los Angeles police officers responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon in the 3500 block of East Valley Boulevard about 2 p.m., said Officer William Cooper, an LAPD spokesman. Cooper said a witness told police that someone threw a flammable liquid on the victim.

One person was detained at the scene, but they have yet to be formally booked, Cooper said. The victim was taken to a hospital with undisclosed injuries. Cooper did not know what prompted the alleged attack.


A law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told The Times that the altercation broke out around an encampment near Lincoln Park.

The victim, who is homeless, suffered burns and is in serious condition but is expected to survive, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could discuss the case candidly.

It was unclear whether the alleged attacker was also homeless. While some people sleep in tents in Lincoln Park, others who live near the park stay in cars or recreational vehicles along Valley Boulevard. A mobile shower site that provides aid to homeless people throughout L.A. County also visits the park frequently.

The number of fires linked to the city’s sprawling homeless community has nearly tripled since 2018, according to Los Angeles Fire Department records, and slightly more than half the fires the agency has responded to this year have been related to the unhoused community.

On average, there have been 24 fires related to homelessness in Los Angeles each day this year. Accidental fires have already claimed the lives of three homeless people in 2021.

A third of the fires that the LAFD labeled as homeless-related were determined to be arson, records show. Investigators believe most of those attacks stemmed from disputes between members of encampments, though attacks on encampments from outside the community have also taken place in recent years.