- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Chicago office of Rep. Danny K. Davis, Illinois Democrat, was the scene of an apparent suicide attempt Tuesday afternoon when a 43-year-old woman set herself on fire in front of staffers.

The incident unfolded at about 3 p.m. when an unidentified woman entered the lobby of the lawmaker’s West Side office and briefly spoke with staffers before she picked up a bottle of hand sanitizer and began drinking from it, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The women then doused herself with the sanitizer and set herself on fire with a lighter, witnesses told the police. Staffers attempted to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher, but the woman ran out of the building while still aflame, the Tribune reported.

Officer Michelle Tannehill, spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department, told the newspaper that the woman was transported to a nearby hospital in serious condition with burns, and that her condition has since stabilized.

The Chicago Sun-Times described the incident as an attempted suicide, citing authorities.

Mr. Davis was not at his office at the time of the incident, but said it isn’t unusual for passersby to stop at his street-level headquarters.

“We don’t worry much about security,” Mr. Davis said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’ve been in a storefront office in Chicago on the West Side for over 40 years. That’s the only way to really be of value and service. We’re basically part of the hood.”

A spokesperson for his office told the DNAinfo website that the woman appeared to have been homeless, and Mr. Davis said residents who have either a mental illness, who are homeless or are addicted to drugs stop by daily. 

“Every day we see the effects of the often extreme daily hardships endured by residents of our community,” he said in a statement. “Coupled with a severe shortage of mental health services we have seen, that the outcome can be tragic. We hope and pray for this woman’s speedy and complete recovery.”

Mr. Davis, 74, served as commissioner of Cook County from 1990 to 1997 before he was elected to Congress. He currently serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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