A man who doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire sparked last week’s deadly blaze at an Ocean City church, authorities said.
John Raymond Sterner, 56, of Ocean City, purchased gasoline before the Nov. 26 incident, which left him dead and claimed the life of the rector of St. Paul’s by-the-Sea, Ocean City officials said. A third person was also seriously injured.
Investigators still do not know why Sterner lit himself on fire, but they do not believe he was targeting the church or anyone inside when he entered the offices of St. Paul’s around 9:25 a.m. covered in flames.
“The motive might be something we never find out,” said Jessica Waters, a spokeswoman for Ocean City.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the Rev. David Dingwall’s death a homicide, authorities said. The third unnamed person injured in the blaze is still being treated for injuries at a local hospital.
Sterner was a client of Shepherd’s Crook, a St. Paul’s food bank and store, that caters to the poor and homeless.