Delores Gillespie lived on the fifth floor of her apartment building and by all reports she had a history of mental illness and signs of paranoia. Her fears turned into reality on Saturday afternoon when an assailant caught her in the elevator as the doors opened at her floor.
A man dressed as an exterminator sprayed Gillespie with an accelerant product as he stepped into the elevator.
When Gillespie backed away and turned to face her assailant, he rather methodically sprayed her face and body.
When she turned around he continued to spray her until he brought out a lighter of the sort used to light a barbecue. With the lighter he lit a Molotov cocktail with which he ignited the accelerant liquid on Gillespie before he tossed the Molotov cocktail at her and left the elevator.
“She goes up in flames and falls to the floor,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
The entire incident was captured on two surveillance cameras, one in the elevator and one in the hallway. New York Police released still photos captured from the video in an attempt to find the person responsible for this crime. Gillespie is reported by NY Daily News
saying residents believe the assailant had recently been living with Gillespie and had glued the locks on her apartment door before the attack.
Gillespie was burned beyond recognition in the attack and five other residents of the building were injured during the fire.
Gillespie's son who is also considered
to be mentally ill, and who sometimes lived with his mother, was questioned but is not considered a suspect in the crime.
It is believed that the suspect in this crime burned his face and hands and hospitals in the area are being questioned for clues as to his whereabouts as well as a more general search.