Denny's fire attack suspect faces attempted murder charge; victim in critical condition

DeShaun Swanger Mugshot, photo via Clackamas-County-Sheriff's-Office

Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a 24-year-old man who they say doused a customer with gasoline at Denny’s Wednesday night and then lit him on fire.

The victim, 69-year-old Scott Ranstrom, is in critical condition with burns to his face and body. His family has set up a GoFundMe page.

Deputies identified the suspect as DeShaun James Swanger. They say he was living in transitional housing with 18 people. They arrested him shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday near 80th and Sunnyside Drive. Buck Sleight, a neighbor and Swanger's former roommate, called in a tip that helped lead deputies to the suspect.

"I was at work, and I got the message on Facebook -- if I recognized the guy -- so I called authorities and handled it," Sleight said.

He added the house where Swanger lived is a "clean and sober house." Sleight used to live there, as well.

"It's disgusting to me, hearing what happened to this elderly man," Sleight said. "He didn't deserve that, so anything they give him, he's going to get what he deserves."

Deputies said they received several tips from the public that helped lead them to Swanger.

They say surveillance video from Wednesday night shows the suspect sitting down in a booth adjacent to the victim at the Denny's on SE 82nd Avenue, across from the Clackamas Town Center.

The suspect dumped a liquid onto the victim and tossed a burning object at him. There was a large flash, according to the report, before the suspect ran out of the restaurant on foot.

Deputies released surveillance video of the suspect entering the Denny's:

Swanger has a criminal history in Deschutes, Clackamas and Washington counties from the years 2011, 2013 and 2014. He's been convicted of burglary, unauthorized use of a vehicle and delivery of marijuana.

Swanger was booked into the Clackamas County Jail on an attempted murder charge and was set to appear before a judge Friday.

They have confirmed there was a similar gasoline attack at the cinemas inside nearby Clackamas Town Center earlier in the week.

Ron Steinhauser, who was watching a movie, told KATU that he saw someone light a book of matches on fire.

"There was a flurry of movement. The person who had the gas thrown on them ran off to the left. The flames started to catch, I think, on his arm, but it went out very quickly with his movement," Steinhauser said. "And the person who had thrown the gas took off to the right. And it was over very quickly."

Deputies plan to re-interview the victim in that attack to see if he can identify a suspect.

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