Homicide detectives study grisly video in Halloween burn death

Homicide detectives investigating the burning death of a man at a popular West Hollywood Halloween carnival are studying a graphic video of the incident to determine whether foul play may have been involved.

A video posted on YouTube shows a man engulfed in a ball of fire in the middle of a crowd of people dancing to electronic music at the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval on Thursday night. As the man flails, some bystanders can be heard cheering. Others helped put out the flames.

The victim, who is seen lying unresponsive on the ground after the fire was extinguished, was identified by the coroner’s office as 51-year-old Gilbert Estrada.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Richard Pena said investigators don’t yet know how he caught fire.


“Nobody knows the actual circumstances,” Pena said. “They are looking at the video to try to determine what happened.”

Estrada was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Thursday and pronounced dead Friday morning. Ed Winter, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, said an autopsy is still pending.

The Halloween carnival draws hundreds of thousands of costumed revelers to the streets of West Hollywood every year. More than 50 performers were scheduled on six stages along the route.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.



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