Cops: Woman Burned In NYC Elevator Over $2K

Source: AP / CBS News

NEW YORK – As Deloris Gillespie went up the elevator to her fifth-floor Brooklyn apartment, carrying groceries, a man was waiting. His face was one her neighbors later recognized, and she surely must have, too.

Surveillance video from inside the small elevator shows that he looked something like an exterminator, with a canister sprayer, white gloves and a dust mask, which was perched atop his head. The sprayer was full of flammable liquid.

When the elevator opened Saturday afternoon, the man sprayed the 73-year-old woman “sort of methodically” over her head and parts of her body as her bags of groceries draped off her arms, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said. She crouched down to try to protect herself, he said.

Then, Browne said, the attacker pulled out a barbecue-style lighter and used it to ignite a rag in a bottle. He waited a few seconds as Gillespie huddled on the floor. Then he backed out of the elevator and tossed the flaming bottle in.

Overnight, a 47-year-old man smelling of gasoline went into a police station and implicated himself in Gillespie’s death, Browne said. The suspect, Jerome Isaac, told police he set her on fire because she owed him $2,000 for some work he had done for her, Browne said.

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