HONOLULU (KHON2) — A man accused of setting a homeless man on fire last week was charged with Attempted Murder in the Second Degree.
According to Honolulu police, officers responded to a 9-1-1 call at an apartment on Queen Emma Street on May 11 at approximately 11:31 p.m.
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The caller was identified as William Del Michael Woods, the same man who would later be accused of setting a homeless man on fire near the See Dai Doo Building on May 12. Police say Woods called them to report that the victim had “inappropriately” touched their mutual acquaintance while the three were hanging out at her apartment.
The acquaintance told police she demanded the two leave her apartment following the incident. Woods and the victim did as she asked. Police records said at the time the two left the apartment, Woods was wearing a black tank top with a blue stripe, a black beanie and black shorts and had in his possession a blue canister with gas in it.
At 3:13 a.m. the next morning, several hours after the incident in the Queen St. apartment, surveillance video near See Dai Doo showed the victim sleeping. A man wearing a black colored tank top, black shorts, black shoes, black arm warmers, a blue bandana and a dark colored face mask was shown throwing a bottle with a rag on fire at the victim. The bottle did not ignite and instead shattered above the sleeping victim. Not giving up, the suspect is then shown lighting a rag on fire which he then threw directly on the victim. This caused the victim to sit up, at which point the suspect walked away in the same direction he had come. Surveillance video captured the suspect entering a vehicle and driving away.
At 5:46 a.m., surveillance video shows the suspect exiting a vehicle similar to the one seen in the earlier incident. Police records said, the man was “seen holding a clear plastic cup with liquid contents in his left hand, and a torch with a blue tank of fuel in the right hand.” Surveillance videos show the suspect approach the victim at the same location as the earlier incident, pour liquid onto him then lunge at him with the torch–setting the victim on fire. Surveillance video then shows the suspect walk back in the same direction from which he came.
After being set on fire, the victim got up, ran along the store fronts of 1300 Pali Highway where he collapsed. Onlookers attempted to extinguish the flames. The victim was later taken to the hospital with second and third degree burns.
A witness told police they recognized the suspect as Woods, otherwise known to the witness as “Smokey,” because they were friends. The witness described the suspect’s vehicle to officers and provided a part of the license plate.
According to police, the acquaintance who said she was “inappropriately” touched by the victim the previous night also reported receiving a message from Woods at approximately 3:41 a.m. stating:
“I promised you I would ride for you and that if anybody put their hands on you that they would have to pay. I will make that guy pay in blood. “William Del Michael Woods
Police say Woods also went on about how he loved her, saying “I’ll always be there for you. I’ll always be your avenger. Anyone hurt you, I will make them pay.”
Woods was arrested at her apartment on May 14. A search warrant was executed with help from HFD’s Canine Unit who was able to detect possible accelerants in the vehicle Woods was operating as well as clothing items that were seen on the suspect in the surveillance videos.