The man who died after setting himself on fire on a lawn near the White House on Wednesday was hallucinating at the time after taking the drug K2 that had been laced with PCP, according to police sources.
Arnav Gupta, 33, was identified by US Park Police on Thursday after dying in the hospital.
He had been reported missing by his family around the time that he was seen setting himself on fire on a lawn at Ellipse Park near the White House.
Gupta was from Bethesda, Maryland. His motive for the deadly stunt remains unclear.
On Thursday, TMZ cited unnamed police sources who said he was hallucinating on K2 – a form of synthetic marijuana – and that he had also taken Phencyclidine.
Phencyclidine is commonly known as PCP or angel dust. It is known to cause hallucinations.
Gupta had been reported missing by his family after leaving his home at 9.20am. Three hours later, he was filmed setting himself on fire.
Arnav Gupta, 33, was identified by US Park Police on Thursday after dying in the hospital
A man set himself on fire Wednesday near the White House with disturbing footage showing him engulfed in flames, the Secret Service said. Shockingly, the unidentified individual managed to stand upright before security ran towards him to extinguish the flames
The Secret Service was not immediately available for more information on Thursday morning nor was the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.
K2 has been linked to other graphic suicides including that of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez who was said to have taken it before hanging himself in a prison cell.
He had written bible verses in blood on his forehead.
WHAT IS SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA?
Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, contains man-made chemicals that act on the same cell receptors in the brain as THC does in natural marijuana.
Researchers have found instances in which chemicals in synthetic marijuana can bind much more strongly to cell receptors than THC does in marijuana that is grown.
This can produce stronger effects, such as an elevated mood or feeling of relaxation.
But synthetic marijuana is also known to have psychotic effects on some users.
These can include extreme anxiety, confusion, paranoia and even hallucinations.
It is often packaged under names such as Spice, AK-47, Green Giant Scooby Snax, Smacked, iBlown and Dank.
Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse
Video of Wednesday’s incident showed Gupta walking calmly across the Ellipse near the Washington Mall, an area popular with tourists, with flames covering his body.
Several seconds later, U.S. Secret Service staff could be seen towards him with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze.
It occurred less than a mile from the White House.
He managed to stand upright before officials got to him, amid reports that he was wearing a protective suit which would have given him some protection from the flames.
Gupta suffered burns on 85 percent of his body and there was a suspicious package on fire near him which was also extinguished.
He was later transported to a nearby hospital with ‘life threatening’ injuries.
More than 70 officers flocked to the scene from multiple agencies. Several tourists and visitors were in the vicinity, but there were no other injuries reported.
National Park Service police and the U.S. Secret Service officers also assisted at the scene to try and establish what happened in Washington D.C.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said he could not immediately comment.
According to his official schedule, Donald Trump was in the Oval Office at the time for a ceremonial swearing-in of the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
He later drops to the ground as he doused with a fire extinguisher to put out the fire
His motive is not known but it is understood he was transported to a nearby hospital
National Park Service police were seen rendering medical aid to him a short time later
There have been several security incidents in recent years in the vicinity of the White House, due in part to its location in the middle of D.C., with a number of streets approaching it.
On April 12, a man in a wheelchair-type electric scooter lit his jacket on fire outside the White House fence.
That man was hospitalized with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries.
Crews are due to begin work on installing a larger fence around the White House as part of security improvements beginning this summer.
The existing fence will be replaced with a structure that will be about 13 feet tall, an increase of about five feet.
Visitors and tourists were seen around the White House, unaware that visitors and tourists were seen around the White House, unaware that a man set himself alight near a security cabin which allows authorized staff to park in a car pack near the South lawn
The Secret Service confirmed the incident happened and said they are investigating
Visitors and tourists were seen around the White House, unaware that a man set himself alight near a security cabin which allows authorized staff to park in a car park on Pennsylvania Ave
A large plume of smoke could be seen where security staff put out the fire and helped him
Ambulances and police cars are seen parked south of the White House at the Ellipse
National Park Service police and the U.S. Secret Service officers assisted at the scene to try and establish what happened and his motivation for the shocking incident