BY THE VILLAGE SUN | An alleged drug user who was set on fire earlier this month while sleeping in a Lower East Side public-housing stairwell has died, police said this Saturday morning.
The victim, whom news reports said was a white male in his 30s, remains unidentified and police are asking for the public’s help in ID’ing him.
The incident has now been reclassified a homicide. The investigation remains ongoing.
The victim was reportedly asleep on the stairs of 60 Pitt St. in the Samuel Gompers Houses on Nov. 5 when he was set on fire. Police reported that just before 5 p.m. the man was found lying unconscious in the stairwell with severe burns on his torso and lower body.
Four hours later, cops arrested a building resident, Nathaniel Terry, 27, charging him with attempted murder, assault and arson.
The unknown man was removed to New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center where he was initially reported in critical but stable condition.
The Daily News reported that Terry allegedly was trying to “scare” the victim, according to a police source. He set the slumbering man’s pants on fire with a lighter but the flames quickly spread, engulfing the victim.
Residents had reportedly previously complained about homeless people sleeping in the building’s hallways and stairways.