OAKLAND (CBS SF)— Community members are rallying around an 18-year-old high school senior who was badly burned when someone lit his clothes on fire as he slept in the back of an AC Transit bus in Oakland on Monday evening.
The victim is Luke “Sasha” Fleischman, 18, who attends Berkeley’s Maybeck High School, a small college prep school with about 100 students, according to school Director Trevor Calle.
The teen suffered severe second- and third-degree burns in the fire and will need several surgeries, according to a fundraising web page that was set up to help cover the cost of Fleischman’s medical care.
More than 400 supporters had donated nearly $21,000 by Wednesday afternoon, surpassing the fundraising goal of $20,000.
Hundreds of donors, including individuals and organizations, left online messages of support and wishes for a speedy recovery for Fleischman.
Some said they were strangers but had heard what happened and wanted to help out.
“I hope it helps to find out you have friends you did not even know existed,” one donor wrote.
Police said a 16-year-old boy lit Fleischman on fire as he slept toward the rear of a bus traveling near MacArthur Boulevard and Ardley Avenue, near Interstate Highway 580, around 5:20 p.m. Monday.
Passengers saw the fire and alerted the driver, who stopped the bus to call for help as the suspect fled, according to police.
Fleischman was taken to the burn center at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco where he was listed in stable condition today, according to police.
Investigators were able to locate the suspect with the help of Oakland Unified School District police, and arrested him on suspicion of intentionally setting the victim on fire.
His name has not been released because he is a juvenile.
Police declined to comment on the motive behind the brutal attack.
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