Unidentified man has set a homeless who rested outside a church aflame early Friday, leaving him with burns covering three-quarters of his body, police and local residents said.
Police were searching for suspects and had made no arrests. The victim was in critical condition at a local hospital as investigators tried to determine his identity.
He was discovered shortly after midnight outside the Bethany Christian Church in East Harlem, where residents said they recognized him as a homeless man who often sought food and shelter at the church.
"He'd just be laying around. Why would somebody do that to somebody like that?" said resident Sammy Caban.
A telephone message left at the church early Friday was not immediately returned.