Colorado Man Dead After Lighting Himself Ablaze Outside Supreme Court on Earth Day

The US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on December 4, 2021. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)
DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

A Colorado man who set himself on fire outside of the Supreme Court on Earth Day has died from his injuries, police said.

In an incident report, the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) stated that 50-year-old Wynn Bruce of Boulder, Colorado, carried out the act at about 6:05 p.m. Friday, the Hill noted. The MPD, Supreme Court Police, and Capitol Police responded to the scene. After being conveyed to a local hospital via helicopter, Bruce died of his injuries.

“A Facebook page belonging to a person named Wynn Bruce said he was a Buddhist and a climate activist,” the New York Post reported.

“In 2020, Bruce left a cryptic Facebook comment that included a fire emoji and the date of his death, 4/22/2022,” according to the outlet.

Dr. Kritee K., a Zen Buddhist priest and senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), said in a tweet that she was Bruce’s friend, adding that he planned to self-immolate for some time:

This guy was my friend. He meditated with our sangha. This act is not suicide. This is a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis. We are piecing together info but he had been planning it for atleast one year. #wynnbruce I am so moved.

In May 2019, 33-year-old Arnav Gupta of Bethesda, Maryland, set himself on fire in Ellipse park near the White House and Washington Monument, CNBC reported. He succumbed to his injuries later that evening. On November 2, 1965, Baltimore quaker Norman Morrison, 33, self-immolated outside of the Pentagon in protest of the Vietnam War, the Baltimore Sun reported. He was holding his infant daughter Emily before releasing her at the last moment. She was unharmed.

Several years before Morrison set himself ablaze outside of the Pentagon, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc doused himself in gasoline and self-immolated in Saigon, Vietnam, on June 11, 1963, Brittanica noted. The move was in protest of Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem’s policies toward Buddhists.


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