(KRON) — A Contra Costa County man accused of pouring lighter fluid on a store clerk and setting the victim on fire has been charged with mayhem.
Kendall Lavanon Burton, 38, is facing a slew of felonies in connection to the September 22 attack. According to court documents obtained by KRON4 Monday, prosecutors charged Burton with aggravated mayhem, assault with caustic chemicals, arson causing great bodily injury, and robbery.
The incident began in El Sobrante at Appian Food & Liquor when the clerk tried to stop Burton and a second man from shoplifting inside the store. In the middle of the scuffle, Burton threw flammable chemicals on the victim and ignited it using a lighter, according to a criminal complaint.
Surveillance video from inside the convenience store shows flames suddenly igniting and burning the victim’s head. The victim’s co-worker can be seen in the surveillance video grabbing a baseball bat from behind the counter and attempting to fend off the two assailants.
The victim, Suraj, suffered severe burns and was rushed to Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. Suraj’s wife wrote, “My husband encountered a horrific work place incident. He was attacked with kerosene fluid and his body was set on fire by a shoplifter while he was working at his store in El Sobrante.”
Prosecutors charged Burton with mayhem because his actions showed “extreme indifference to the physical and psychological well being of another,” and he “intentionally caused permanent disability and disfigurement,” court documents state.
A GoFundMe page was created to help raise money for Suraj’s hospital bills as he continues recovering from burn injuries. “Wounds by the burn takes time to heal and recover and we are overwhelmed by the mental trauma and the pressure of medical procedures,” Suraj’s wife wrote on GoFundMe.
Burton has a criminal history dating back to 2004 with convictions for numerous robberies and burglaries. Court records show Burton racked up convictions in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties.