A man has been charged with attempted murder after he doused a woman with a flammable liquid and set her on fire.
Venice Taylor, 41, of 212 Palamino Trail in Jacksonville, was arrested in connection with the incident.
He was taken into custody during a traffic stop along the 300 blocks of East Vernon Avenue Monday, at 7:08 p.m., the Kinston Police Department said in a press release.
According to the press release, Taylor was processed into the Lenoir County Jail and release provisions are yet to be set.
Taylor is further facing charges of malicious maiming, resisting public officials, driving with a revoked license, and failure to stop for a blue light and siren, Kinston reported.
The woman identified as Khloe McNeal, 24, was in her car at the intersection of East and Bright Streets Monday at 10:52 am when she was approached by an unknown person, identified as Taylor doused her with a flammable liquid and set her on fire.
McNeal was found on the sidewalk with severe burns on her upper body after a police officer was notified of the grisly incident.
“In my 25 years of experience I’ve never seen such a breach of humanity,” said Interim Kinston Police Chief Tim Dilday.
“I smelled flesh. I smelled flesh,” said Lakevious Smith who was walking in the neighborhood when the crime happened.
“They had a yellow sheet up. I’m like ‘oh man something happened.’ As soon as I walked by I heard the scream, but I couldn’t see. When I walked up I could see the police,” Smith said.
Kenyari Fields who saw first responders and witnesses help McNeal told WRAL: “All we did was begin praying. It was a magnificent scene we saw today.”
“You’re praying for the victim, you’re praying for her family,” Fields continued. “You’re praying for even the person who did it because the person that has the heart to do something like that truly needs prayers.”
Dilday called the crime “heinous” and said police could not say at this time if the attack was random, CBS17 reported.
“We don’t know why. I don’t know of any correlation or connection between the victim and the offender in this case. There is cause for concern at this point,” Dilday said.
According to public records, Taylor has been convicted on several drug charges dating back to 1995.
He was sentenced to community service last month for drug charges in Pitt County.