Pictured: Climate activist, 50, who died after lighting himself ablaze in front of the Supreme Court on Earth Day wrote ‘4/22/2022’ and a fire emoji in a Facebook post from 2020
- Wynn Bruce, 50, of Boulder, Colorado, set himself on fire on the court’s plaza
- Bruce was a buddhist who often posted about climate change on Facebook
- Last year, he wrote the date ‘4/22/2022’ and a fire emoji under a post from 2020
- Police are investigating and have yet to reveal a motive for Bruce’s actions
- A Buddhist priest who knew him said his death was not a suicide but a ‘deeply fearless act of compassion’
- In May 2019, disturbing footage emerged of another man setting himself on fire and calmly walking near the White House as police tried to douse the flames
A climate activist who died after setting himself on fire in front of the Supreme Court on Earth Day is a buddhist who hinted at his future self-immolation with a fire emoji under a Facebook post from 2020.
Wynn Bruce, 50, of Boulder, Colorado, lit himself on fire on the court’s plaza at around 6.30pm Friday.
He suffered critical burns and was pronounced dead at a local hospital on Saturday.
On October 30, 2020, he shared a link to an online class on climate change offered by edX, a free online course platform created by Harvard and MIT.
Last April, he went back and commented: ‘4-1-1 4/22/2022,’ along with a fire emoji.
Surveillance footage of the immediate aftermath of the fire show police officers as they attempt to calm Bruce, who can be heard screaming in the background.
Police are still investigating a motive, but a Buddhist priest from Boulder took to Twitter to clarify that Bruce’s death was not a suicide, but a ‘deeply fearless act of compassion.’
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Wynn Bruce, 50, of Boulder, Colorado, set himself on fire in front of the Supreme Court on Friday afternoon during Earth Day
Facebook posts reveal that he was a practicing Buddhist who often shared posts about his beliefs and the dangers of climate change
In October 2020, he posted a link to an online course about climate change. Last April, he commented ‘4/22/2022’ – the date he set himself ablaze – and a fire emoji
Video of the immediate aftermath on Friday show police officers as they attempt to calm Bruce, who can be heard screaming in the background
Buddhist priest Sensei Kritee Kanko, who calls herself a ‘friend’ of Bruce, says his death was a ‘fearless act of compassion to bring attention to the climate crisis’
‘This guy was my friend. He meditated with our sangha. This act is not suicide,’ said Zen priest Sensei Kritee Kanko.
‘This is a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis. We are piecing together info but he had been planning it for atleast one year. #wynnbruce I am so moved.’
Bruce’s Facebook page has since been inundated with comments both praising his actions and criticizing his way of bringing attention to his cause.
‘How can you solve the climate crisis when you leave in the middle of the fight. Now you can’t do anything to be helpful,’ one person commented.
Another wrote: ‘I see he was a fighter for his beliefs and that may have contributed to this tragedy.’
A LinkedIn profile for a Wynn Bruce of Boulder, Colorado states he was a photojournalist who had previously attended Front Range Community College and the Community College of Denver.
Supreme Court police, Capitol Police and DC police all responded to the incident.
‘A medical helicopter landed on the plaza and the individual was airlifted to a local hospital.
A LinkedIn profile for a Wynn Bruce of Boulder, Colorado states he was a photojournalist who had previously attended Front Range Community College and the Community College of Denver
Emergency personnel tend to Wynn Bruce, who had just lit himself on fire in front of the Supreme Court building on Friday
Pictured: the helicopter as it lands to transport Bruce from the plaza in front of the Supreme Court building
No one else was injured,’ court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said in a statement.
Authorities had to temporarily close two roads as the helicopter EMS crew tended to the medical emergency.
Although she confirmed the 252-foot oval plaza had been closed to allow for investigation, she did say the incident was ‘not a public safety issue.’
The plaza itself is up a small flight of steps from the sidewalk outside the court building.
Back in May 2019, disturbing footage emerged of another man setting himself on fire and calmly walking around near the White House as police desperately tried to douse the flames.
The man, later identified as Arnav Gupta, set himself on fire at Ellipse Park in downtown Washington, DC.
The 33-year-old died of his injuries the next day. He had already been reported missing by police, who said they were ‘concerned for Gupta’s physical and emotional welfare,’ according to CNBC.
In May 2019, another man set himself on fire near the White House, with terrifying footage showing him engulfed in flames
Video of the incident showed the man walking calmly across the Ellipse near the Washington Mall, an area popular with tourists, with flames covering his body.
Several seconds later, US Secret Service staff could be seen towards him with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze.
It occurred less than a mile from the White House.
Just a few days prior to Friday’s incident, Capitol Police evacuated courthouses and Congressional buildings in the area after an unidentified aircraft was spotted within seconds of the US Capitol on Wednesday.
It was eventually determined that the single engine airplane was on a flight by the Golden Knights Parachute Team for Military Appreciation night at Nationals Park.
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