Demonstrators light candles during a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy,...

Demonstrators light candles during a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, while declaring that he "will no longer be complicit in genocide." Credit: AP/Mark Schiefelbein

WASHINGTON — An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he “will no longer be complicit in genocide."

The 25-year-old airman, Aaron Bushnell, of San Antonio, Texas, died from his injuries, the Metropolitan Police Department said Monday.

Bushnell had walked up to the embassy shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday and began livestreaming on the video streaming platform Twitch, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. Law enforcement officials believe he set his phone down and then doused himself in accelerant and ignited the flames. At one point, he said he “will no longer be complicit in genocide,” the person said. The video was later removed from the platform, but law enforcement officials have obtained and reviewed a copy.

The person was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Investigators believe Bushnell had been staying at a Travelodge in Silver Spring, Maryland, which was searched Monday by federal agents, a law enforcement official said. That official was not authorized to disclose details of the investigation publicly and also spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

In a statement Monday, the Air Force said, “The individual involved in yesterday’s incident succumbed to his injuries and passed away last night.”

Later Monday, the Air Force said Bushnell was a cyber defense operations specialist with the 531st Intelligence Support Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio. He had served on active duty since May 2020.

Palestinians wait for humanitarian aid on a beachfront in Gaza...

Palestinians wait for humanitarian aid on a beachfront in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. Credit: AP/Mahmoud Essa

Col. Celina Noyes, commander the 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, said: “When a tragedy like this occurs, every member of the Air Force feels it. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Senior Airman Bushnell."

Demonstrators held a vigil for Bushnell outside the Israeli embassy Monday night.

The incident happened as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking the cabinet approval for a military operation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah while a temporary cease-fire deal is being negotiated. Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, however, has drawn criticisms, including genocide claims against the Palestinians.

Israel has adamantly denied the genocide allegations and says it is carrying out operations in accordance with international law in the Israel-Hamas war.

In this image taken from video, police are deployed outside...

In this image taken from video, police are deployed outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, after an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force was critically injured after setting himself ablaze outside the diplomatic compound. Credit: AP

In December, a person self-immolated outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta and used gasoline as an accelerant, according to Atlanta’s fire authorities. A Palestinian flag was found at the scene, and the act was believed to be one of “extreme political protest.”

__

Associated Press writer Tara Copp contributed to this report.

Latest videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME