A homeless woman told not to panhandle outside a Florida gas station doused a clerk with gasoline and set her on fire, sheriff officials said.
Betty Jean McFadden, 30, was charged with attempted murder in the gruesome attack at a Circle K gas station in Pensacola, where she was told earlier Wednesday to leave, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
McFadden left, but returned at about 1 p.m. Wednesday with a gas can and attacked the female clerk by dousing her with fuel she “panhandled” before throwing matches at her and setting her on fire, sheriff’s officials said.
A second gas station employee was also burned while helping put out the flames. McFadden proceeded to “calmly” walk out of the gas station and was arrested a few blocks away.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and her family,” Sheriff Chip Simmons said in a statement. “This is a senseless and practically indescribable act of cruelty.”
McFadden, who is listed as homeless in jail records, is being held without bond on an attempted murder charge. It’s unclear if she’s hired an attorney who could comment on her behalf.
An Escambia County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman told The Post she could not provide an update on the victim’s condition early Thursday, citing privacy laws.
“We know she suffered life-threatening injuries,” spokeswoman Amber Southard wrote in an email.
The female clerk, who has not been identified, had “horrific” burns and was rushed to a hospital. She ran from McFadden after she was doused in gasoline, Simmons told the Pensacola News Journal.
Multiple witnesses saw the grisly attack and used clothing and water inside the gas station to extinguish the flames, Simmons said.
The second clerk was also hospitalized. McFadden did not say anything to the woman she doused with gasoline prior to the attack, Simmons told WKRG.