U.S. Air Force Serviceman Sets Self on Fire in Protest in DC

A U.S. Air Force serviceman carried out a shocking act of setting himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, on Sunday. The man, who was on active duty, claimed his actions were a radical protest against Israel’s invasion of Gaza following the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, 2023.

The incident occurred around 1:00 p.m. on the 3500 block of International Drive, NW. The Metropolitan Police Department was called to the scene to support the United States Secret Service after reports of an individual setting themselves ablaze in front of the embassy.

A disturbing image of the man, engulfed in flames and dressed in military fatigues, was shared on a popular social media platform. Independent reporter Talia Jane is said to have posted the graphic video, which she reportedly shared with several major media outlets.

The video begins with the man, identified as Bushnell, declaring himself an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force. He states, “I will no longer be complicit in genocide.” He then asserts that his impending act of protest, while extreme, pales in comparison to the experiences of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

Bushnell is then seen dousing himself with a liquid before setting himself on fire. As the flames consume him, he repeatedly cries out, “Free Palestine!” Police officers on the scene quickly rush to extinguish the flames.

Following the incident, Bushnell was transported to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition. Rose Riley, a spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force, confirmed to CNN that an active-duty airman was involved in the incident.

The Metropolitan Police Department, Secret Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are currently investigating the self-immolation incident. This event follows a similar incident in December, where a protester set herself on fire outside the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia.