Authorities Say Man Who Burned Self to Protest VA Has Died

gGeorgia State Capitol building in Atlanta in the evening. (Getty Images/AndreyKrav)
Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta in the evening. (Getty Images/AndreyKrav)

ATLANTA — State investigators say a man who identified himself as an Air Force veteran has died after he lit himself on fire in front of the Georgia Capitol last week to protest the Veterans Affairs system.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation tweeted Tuesday that 58-year-old John Michael Watts died Monday. Authorities say Watts strapped fireworks to his chest, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself on fire June 26. A state trooper who saw what was happening quickly put out the flames.

Authorities said Watts, who had no current address, was able to talk to officers after the flames were extinguished. Authorities said he had burns over 85 to 90 percent of his body. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

The GBI says its investigation continues.

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