Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Air Force veteran who set himself on fire in protest of VA dies

Authorities say John Michael Watts strapped fireworks to his chest, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself on fire June 26.
by Associated Press /
Image: Air Force Veteran Dies
The Atlanta police bomb squad responds after a veteran who says he was disgruntled with the Department of Veterans Affairs set himself on fire in protest outside the state Capitol in downtown Atlanta, according to the Georgia State Patrol on June 26, 2018.John Spink / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

ATLANTA — State investigators say a man who identified himself as an Air Force veteran has died after he lit himself on fire in front of the Georgia Capitol last week to protest the Veterans Affairs system.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation tweeted Tuesday that 58-year-old John Michael Watts died Monday. Authorities say Watts strapped fireworks to his chest, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself on fire June 26. A state trooper who saw what was happening quickly put out the flames.

Authorities said Watts, who had no current address, was able to talk to officers after the flames were extinguished. Authorities said he had burns over 85 to 90 percent of his body. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

The GBI says its investigation continues.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news