Two Kelowna men are being detained on aggravated assault charges and will appear in court by video link Monday after a young man was lit on fire at a house party last weekend.
On Saturday, police were advised an 18-year-old man had received second and third degree burns to most of his back when he was intentionally set on fire after passing out at a house party in the 2500-block of Highway 97 on Friday night.
The only residences in the block are the Vecchio’s Corner row-houses.
“The investigation revealed that the man fell asleep on the kitchen floor during the early morning hours. One man then allegedly poured a liquid on the victim’s back and lit him on fire while the other filmed the incident,” said Cnst. Kris Clark, in a statement from Kelowna RCMP released Thursday morning.
Mathew Sweet-Grant, 20, and Joshua McWhirter, 18, were taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault. They made their first court appearance Thursday afternoon and will appear by video conference on Monday for a bail hearing. Sweet-Grant has also been charged with assault with a weapon.
A Facebook page for Sweet-Grant shows a collection of photos of people being lit on fire illustrating a lust for pulling pranks dubbed on the album as “pyro.”
Based on information obtained through the course of the investigation, investigators are saying they believe that this may not be the first time one of the accused has lit someone on fire who is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, RCMP said.
YouTube videos seem to confirm there is a trend toward lighting others on fires in online videos; although police in Kelowna have not gone so far as to label this incident as related to the films.
Police are asking anyone with information regarding this incident, or previous incidents, to contact the Kelowna RCMP General Investigations Section at 250-762-3300.