A man who somehow caught on fire in a field in San Diego’s Mission Bay Park area Friday night has been identified, police confirmed Tuesday.
The man -- who did not survive his injuries -- was Aijalon M. Gomes, 38, who had recently relocated to San Diego from Boston, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said.
At around 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 17, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer was driving westbound on Pacific Highway near SeaWorld Drive when he spotted Gomes on fire in a field adjacent to the roadway.
The officer stopped to try to help the man ablaze while crews from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) arrived. Gomes' injuries were too severe and firefighters pronounced the man dead at the scene.
Investigators did not know how or why the man was on fire and, at first, deemed his death suspicious as the San Diego Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST) looked into the case. SDPD’s Homicide Unit also aided in the investigation.
On Tuesday police said the preliminary investigation indicates the man's death was not a homicide but rather possibly an accidental death or suicide. His manner and cause of death will not be confirmed until the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office completes its investigation and files its report.
Anyone with information on this case can reach out to the SDPD’s Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.