Two men were found burning with gunshot wounds to the head late Thursday in a rural pocket of Placer County near Roseville and Granite Bay, officials said.
A resident responded to a fire next to his home on the rural 3700 block of Annabelle Avenue and was trying to extinguish it when he realized that the two burning men were the source of the blaze, said Dena Erwin, spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
The pair were alive and transported to two area hospitals, where they were listed in “grave” condition on Friday night, Erwin said. She said the men were in their late 20s to early 30s, and the department could not release their names until family is notified.
The resident discovered the men around 11:20 p.m. Thursday in a gravel parking area in front of his house just outside Roseville near the Sacramento County line, Erwin said. She described the neighborhood as rural, and said it was likely very dark when he responded to the fire.
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Raymond Sutton was sleeping in his house on Annabelle Avenue at midnight when sheriff’s deputies walked into his unlocked home, he said. The officers asked Sutton if everyone in his house was present and filled him in on what had happened.
The officers told Sutton that one man had been shot twice in the back of the head, and the other was shot once. They were then both doused with gasoline and set ablaze in the middle of the road.
Another neighbor, who did not want to be named out of concern for her safety, was immersed in a book on her couch when she heard what sounded “like fireworks, but more intense.” She kept reading until a neighbor ran up to her door and asked if her 17-year-old son was home, because there were two young men burning outside.
After making sure her son was safe, the woman ran outside with a flashlight to find two blackened bodies being sprayed with a hose by a neighbor. She could hear one of the victims breathing heavily, but did not think the other, who was lying face down, was still alive.
Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters soon responded to the scene. A deputy retrieved a wallet from one of the victims and asked the neighbor if she knew him. She said she did not.