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Homeless Man Set Another Homeless Man on Fire, Deputies Say

Harold Rosenbaum Jr. | Pinellas Sheriff | Arrests

The two had been drinking and got into an argument, Pinellas sheriff’s deputies said.

OLDSMAR – A homeless man has been accused of pouring gasoline on another homeless man and setting him on fire, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

James Heffernan, 60, was taken to a trauma center in critical condition. He died there Sunday (Oct. 7) of his injuries. David Mahoney, 64, who was injured while putting out the flames, was taken to trauma center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Harold Rosenbaum Jr., 44, whose last known address was in New Port RIchey, was originally charged with one count of attempted murder in the first degree. After Mr. Heffernan’s death, the charge was upgraded to first degree murder. Deputies said all three men were intoxicated.

Deputies and firefighters from East Lake Fire Rescue were called about 12:28 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 6) to a fire at a homeless camp in a wooded area southeast of Tampa Road and Eastlake Road in Oldsmar. The wooded area is owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

When deputies arrived, they said they found Mr. Heffernan suffering severe burns to about 75 percent of his body.

Sheriff’s detectives said they learned that Mr. Heffernan and Rosenbaum got into an argument inside the tent at the homeless camp. The argument became physical, and Mr. Heffernan left the tent with Rosenbaum following.

Mr. Heffernan and Rosenbaum continued the argument outside the tent and, deputies said, Rosenbaum picked up a gasoline can as Mr. Heffernan struggled to get it away from him. Moments later, Mahoney left the tent ans saw Mr. Heffernan fully engulfed in flames. After struggling with Mr. Heffernan for a few minutes, Mahoney was able to extinguish the fire, which caused burns to his hands and feet.

Detectives said they were able to determine that Rosenbaum had poured gasoline onto Mr. Heffernan and set him on fire.

Pinellas Sheriff | Crime | Attempted Murder | Arrests | Tampabay News

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Homeless Man Set Another Homeless Man on Fire, Deputies Say
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Homeless Man Set Another Homeless Man on Fire, Deputies Say
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The two had been drinking and got into an argument, Pinellas sheriff's deputies said.
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TB Reporter
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