Skip to comments.Deputies: Man critically burned trying to set estranged wife ablaze
Posted on 02/07/2012 9:21:51 AM PST by atomic conspiracy
No one knows how long he sat inside the green rental car and waited.
Authorities say Matthew Wong, 50, watched the door of his wife's apartment early Monday, waiting for her to step outside.
Thick, black garbage bags shrouded the backseat windows. A quilt covered the rear window.
"It appears it was all planned," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon. "He was waiting out there to ambush her."
What Wong hadn't planned on, deputies said, was getting caught in the flames that he had hoped would kill his wife, Gloria Davis, 47.
After residents of the Countrywood Apartments, 12401 Orange Grove Drive, helped extinguish the fire, Wong was taken to Tampa General Hospital just after 7 a.m. in critical condition, with third-degree burns over his upper body, McKinnon said.
The episode was still under investigation, and no charges had been filed Monday.
Davis was unharmed.
Wong's motives for attacking his wife were not immediately clear, McKinnon said.
The two have been separated since October, when Davis moved out of their Wesley Chapel home and into the Countrywood Apartments. Family members declined to comment.
Deputies would later discover a 21/2-gallon jug of gasoline in Wong's trunk, tape, a pair of gloves and bleach bottles believed to have been filled with an accelerant.
As Wong chased Davis across the apartment complex's front lawn, he pulled a Bic lighter from his pocket, officials said. Davis escaped by ducking into a neighbor's apartment, McKinnon said.
That's when Wong began setting bushes and grass on fire in an attempt to "smoke her out," McKinnon said.
In the process, Wong set himself on fire.
Amy Jo Akert, a 35-year-old dance teacher who lives across the street, said she woke up when she heard yelling and arguing. She didn't think much of it at first, since she lives near a school bus stop, but then, she said, she heard what sounded like a woman screaming "Help me! Help me!"
Akert said she looked across the street and saw a man standing on the ground and someone running upstairs. Someone screamed, "I'm going to kill you!" and suddenly, the man burst into flames.
"It was instantaneous," Akert said. "He just lit on fire. I don't even understand how."
Cristie Gibbons, 26, also called 911.
Gibbons, who lives on the ground floor of Davis' building, said she went to her bedroom
window when she heard screams coming from outside.
"The bushes were on fire. The mulch was on fire, the grass, everything," she said. "I thought my apartment was going to burn down."
She called 911 as her husband, Aurelio Loza, 44, ran outside with a blanket.
"I saw the flames, but, at first, I didn't see the man," he said. "Once I did, I just grabbed the blanket and ran."
Loza was met by a man from across the street. Together, the two snuffed out the flames that engulfed Wong as he rolled on the grass.
Wong and Davis were married in 1985, records show, and have two sons, ages 25 and 18.
Wong was arrested on charges of domestic battery in 2000, but the case was later dismissed, according to court records.
Pasco County deputies most recently responded to the couple's Cross Creek Lane home in November 2010, but no arrests were made.
Im not sure what to say..
Wow. Karma is a harsh mistress.
Does sound like a happy ending, sort of. His poor wife will never a day of peace as long as he is at large.
“When Idiots Attack”
Sometimes the bad guys lose.
“Ha ha.” - Nelson Munz.
“The bushes were on fire. The mulch was on fire, the grass, everything,”
Build a man a fire, and he is warm for a day.
Set a man on fire, and he is warm for the rest of his life.
She needs to disappear, and the sooner the better. This guy may actually become even more dangerous now. In his messed up head he’s probably going to blame ~her~ for his injuries and disfiguring scars.
Well, he was certainly in the wong.
“I don’t want to set the world on fire.....I just want to start a flame in your heart....”
‘twas hoist upon his own petard...
Build a man a fire and he stays warm for a day.
Set a man on fire and he stays warm for the rest of his life.
This sounds like the beginning of Alzheimers. It affects people in different ways. After that many years of marriage and grown children, I going with mental problems.
Sick humor.. love it...
That’s a good wong!
He’s lucky it wasn’t a Spare the Air day.
That’s just plain wong.
That’s just plain wong.
He’s going to probably be in the hospital for quite a while, and then at some point he may have to serve time in prison if he doesn’t die from his injuries.
Yah, and that gives her something of a head start. But whatever time he gets in jail, it won’t be enough.
It’s too bad that attempted murder doesn’t typically warrant as much time as a successful murder. It should. Just because they failed... the intent and the action was the same. It should be treated as the same level of crime.
I have always agreed with that.
Burned beyond reignition.
No Matthew, you wong....me no love you long time.
Sometimes things happen differently than why we plan especially if we deserve it.
Sometimes things happen differently than what we plan especially if we deserve it.
I guess saying that his plan “backfired” on him is giving the term a somewhat new meaning.
Sometimes karma doesn’t wait to come back at you.
What a shock and burden this has placed on their two sons, age 25 and 17.
If the husband recovers and gets out of jail, she’ll be looking over her shoulder the rest of her life.
Oh, that's easy! You're doing it all Wong!