“Up to the vehicle flames coming up everywhere and I’m like how to do I open this door,” says Paul Hershey.
“And this guy off to my right just came in reached in and grabbed the door handle and it opened wide open,” Hershey says.
It’s a nightmarish scene that haunts Paul Hershey among the good Samaritans rushed to help Jerry Payne the man set on fire as he sat inside his SUV.
Hershey — who didn’t want us to show his face— is a chauffeur. He’d stopped at this Long Beach 7-11 along the PCH to buy a newspaper Friday evening and was at the counter when he glanced outside saw the burning car and then the unthinkable.
“We got to get out and then help him out. People are like roll him on the ground get the flames out,” says Hershey.
Neighbors left flowers on the doorstep of Payne’s Long Beach home. The 63-year-old man engaged to be married died this morning.
“So I start swatting him to get the flames out turning him over the flames covered in something get it out,” says Hershey.
Hershey describe how Payne so badly burned mustered the strength to stand and walk from the flames.
“He starts to roll over get to his knees and get up,” Hershey said.
38 year old Raymond Shawn Clark — a homeless man — is accused of throwing a flammable substance into Payne’s car.
Police say it’s not clear why he did it although witness have told the media Clark was angry Payne refused to give him money.
“You do what you can I did what I could. “It’s just tragic that’s what this is,” says Hershey.