Mayhem at the Market as Store Clerk Set Ablaze by Shoplifting Criminal

Kendall Lavanon Burton had to go the extra mile and douse the clerk with an accelerant, then set him on fire. In the wild and wonderful world of Contra Costa County, California, stealing isn’t enough of a kick. They share a border with San Francisco. Since petty shoplifting is legal, he’s been charged with mayhem.

Clerk burned severely

The clerk had apparently been doused with kerosene. That’s what his wife is saying. It’s been variously described as “lighter fluid,” “caustic chemicals” and “flammable chemicals,” depending on who you talk to.

38-year-old Kendall Lavanon Burton “was charged with aggravated mayhem, assault with caustic chemicals, arson causing great bodily injury, and robbery.

The incident happened on September 22, in the town of El Sobrante, where they aren’t all that sober. Burton and a second man were casually shoplifting at the Appian Food & Liquor when “the store clerk tried to stop” them.

During the ensuing scuffle, “Burton threw flammable chemicals at the victim and ignited it using a lighter.” All it took was one flick of the Bic.

The whole thing was caught clearly on surveillance video which “shows flames igniting and burning the victim’s head.” The clerk, identified only as “Suraj,” suffered “severe burns and was rushed to Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.

His wife informed the press that “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.

Charged with mayhem

Prosecutors have funny ways of doing things in northern California. Instead of charging him with attempted murder, they “charged Burton with mayhem.” He could have gotten away clean on the shoplifting but lighting a clerk on fire is frowned on, even in the outskirts of zombie riddled San Francisco. Burton went over the top.

They had to slap him with a mayhem rap because his actions showed “extreme indifference to the physical and psychological well being of another,” and he “intentionally caused permanent disability and disfigurement.

Suraj isn’t going to be back at his cash register for a long time to come so “a GoFundMe page was created to help raise money for Suraj’s hospital bills.” The clerk is recovering but it’s going to be a long road.

Wounds by the burn takes time to heal and recover and we are overwhelmed by the mental trauma and the pressure of medical procedures,” Mrs. Suraj wrote.

Long before Burton set Suraj on fire, he was well known to local cops. “Burton has a criminal history dating back to 2004 with convictions for numerous robberies and burglaries.” The big problem is that California won’t actually take people like that off the streets. They call it discrimination.

Burton apparently gets around. Before they legalized shoplifting, “Court records show Burton racked up convictions in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties.” He can add aggravated arson of a convenience store clerk to his rap sheet.

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