Air Force member from San Antonio dies after lighting self on fire to protest war in Gaza | San Antonio


click to enlarge The Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C., as last photographed by Google. - Capture: Google Street View

Capture: Google Street View

The Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C., as last photographed by Google.

An active-duty U.S. Air Force member from San Antonio died after setting himself on fire Sunday outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C., saying he will “no longer be complicit in genocide,” according to multiple media reports.

D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department identified the deceased man as Aaron Bushnell, 25, according to the Associated Press. The Air Force also confirmed his death in a Monday statement to the wire service.

Bushnell approached the embassy around 1 p.m. on Sunday and began livestreaming on Twitch, someone familiar with the incident told the Associated Press. The video has since been removed by the online platform.

The clip appears to show Bushnell, who was dressed in fatigues, announce he is “an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force, and I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” according to details shared by independent reporter Talia Jane, who obtained a copy of the footage. Bushnell repeatedly yelled “Free Palestine” after igniting himself, according to the report.

In his LinkedIn profile, Bushnell said he worked as a DevOps engineer for the Air Force. He’s been stationed in San Antonio since at least 2020, according to the profile.

Bushnell sent emails to media outlets on Sunday morning announcing his intent to “engage in an extreme act of protest against the genocide of the Palestinian people,” according to Talia Jane’s reporting.

He also left a message on Facebook Sunday that linked to the now-removed Twitch stream.

“Many of us like to ask ourselves, ‘What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?'” he said in the post. “The answer is, you’re doing it. Right now.”

In comments provided to Talia Jane, one of Bushnell’s friends said he worked to support unhoused people in San Antonio. Another described him as the “kindest, gentlest, silliest little kid in the Air Force.” Both people apparently declined to identify themselves other than with their first names.

Hundreds of protests have taken place in U.S. cities, including San Antonio, since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

The conflict began in October, when Hamas fighters launched an attack from the Gaza Strip, killing 1,139 Israelis and foreign nationals and taking 248 people hostage.

In response, Israel launched one of the deadliest and most destructive military campaigns in recent history. To date, more than 29,000 Palestinians have died, according to recent numbers from the territory’s Health Ministry.

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