Climate activist sets himself on fire at Supreme Court Plaza, dies from injuries

Climate activist sets himself on fire at Supreme Court Plaza, dies from injuries

A Colorado man has died after setting himself on fire near the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on Friday. The suicide was apparently done as an Earth Day protest against climate change.

The man, identified as 50 year old Wynn Bruce from Boulder, Colorado, was airlifted to a local hospital after setting himself alight in the plaza outside the Supreme Court building on 1st Street.

Supreme Court Police, US Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department responded to the incident at about 6:30 PM on Friday. According to MPD, no one else was injured in the incident.

Bruce succumbed to injuries resulting from the fire at the hospital. The area outside the Supreme Court was closed to the public for several hours following the incident for investigation, but by Saturday had returned to normal.

At 6:40 PM the Capitol Police Tweeted about the incident, assuring the public that it was isolated. “A medical helicopter just landed near the Capitol for a medical emergency. This is not a public safety issue,” the Tweet said.

Kritee Kanko, a climate scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund and a Zen Buddhist priest in Boulder, has said that she is a friend of Bruce and that the act was “not suicide,” rather it was “a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis.”

However, she did admit in an interview that she was not completely certain of his intentions, adding that “people are being driven to extreme amounts of climate grief and despair” and that “what I do not want to happen is that young people start thinking about self-immolation.”

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