- Associated Press - Thursday, April 20, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Police in Oregon were searching for a suspect Thursday after a 69-year-old man was set ablaze at a Denny’s restaurant near Portland.

Sgt. Dan Kraus of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect - a man who appeared to be his 20s - entered the restaurant Wednesday night and sat in booth adjacent to the victim. He said surveillance video then showed the suspect pouring liquid onto the victim. He then tossed a lit item onto the victim, causing a large flash.

Firefighters smelled gasoline inside the building and on the victim, Kraus said.

The suspect ran from the restaurant and headed south. He was wearing a black, flat-brim hat, black hooded jacket, gray sweatpants with a black stripe and black shoes.

The victim was taken to a Portland hospital. His name has not been released.

A similar incident involving gasoline and matches happened earlier this week at a movie theater near the Denny’s location. It did not start a fire, however.

The sheriff’s office said the victim in that case laughed it off and did not press charges. Investigators plan a follow-up interview to see if the cases are connected.

Denny’s said in a statement it is assisting with the investigation.

“We are deeply disturbed by the senseless, random act of violence that took place at our franchised-owned Happy Valley restaurant, and our thoughts and prayers are with our guest that was seriously injured,” Denny’s said. “Both guests and team members acted quickly to help this guest and ensure the safety of others in the restaurant.”

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