In a scene that could have played out in a war-zone in the Middle East, a 53 year-old St Augustine man entered the Veterans Administration clinic this morning, asked to see a staff physician, unexpectedly poured gasoline on himself and the doctor, then tried to strike a match.
A security officer assigned to the clinic subdued Gregorio Iglesias-Cruz and interrupted his plans that could have killed or injured several staff members and other patients in the immediate area.
St Johns County Fire-Rescue and sheriff’s deputies responded to the building, located at 1955 US-1 South, assisted in a precautionary evacuation and hazardous material containment protocol, and then executed required decontamination measures.
Iglesias-Cruz, who gave his address as 6880 Cypress Point Drive in Saint Augustine, reportedly was seeking medical counseling.
When asked where the gasoline came from, Historic City News was informed, “He walked in with it.
It was in a mouthwash bottle that we believe was in a bag.”
According to SJSO Corporal Catherine Payne, the Veterans Administration office is conducting an internal review to determine how he brought the gasoline into the clinic undetected.
“We do know that the color of the gasoline could have been easily mistaken for mouthwash,” Payne told Historic City News.
The incident report indicated that Iglesias-Cruz was, in fact, a US Veteran.
Iglesias-Cruz was transported across the street to Flagler Hospital for a medical clearance. After he was released, he was taken into custody by awaiting deputies and charged with aggravated battery — a second-degree felony.
No bond has been set at this time — Iglesias-Cruz will be arraigned on these charges in the morning and bond may be set at that time.