Some in the crowd appeared to think it was a prank, a show or a spectacle.
But the man burning on the ground during the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival on Santa Monica Boulevard Thursday night died over the weekend. And now L.A. County Sheriff's Department homicide detectives want to get to the bottom of what happened.
Some of the incident was caught on graphic, disturbing video:
Family members identified the victim as 51-year-old Gilbert Estrada. They say he died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Information posted with the video says Estrada was dressed as a sniper and was at the event with his girlfriend when the incident happened.
When the victim is seen in flames, however, he's not wearing a shirt. Some onlookers celebrate --as if it's a show -- while others move in to help.
Estrada's family is asking for help with a funeral fund, here. His brother wrote this:
On October 31st, my brother Gilbert Estrada passed away from a tragic accident he sustained while celebrating halloween at West Hollywood's Halloween Carnaval. His costume went up in flames for reasons unknown and he suffered severe burns to his upper torso including his face. He was transported to Cedar-Sinai where the following morning he succumbed to his injuries and passed away.
On Sunday the sheriff's department said in a statement that homicide investigators were on the case:
They are asking for the public's assistance to determine the source of the ignition, or how the victim became engulfed in flames.
Deputies say it happened about 10:30 p.m. Thursday at Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards.
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If you saw anything unusual, detectives would like to hear from you: 323-890-5500.