Delores Gillespie had returned from grocery-shopping around 4:00 P.M. on December 17th, 2011 when she stepped out of the elevator on the fifth floor of her apartment building at 203 Underhill Ave. in Prospect Heights. She was met by a gloved psycho clutching a barbecue lighter, a bottle and a jug of combustible fluid. As the elevator doors opened, the assailant stepped in and sprayed the woman. Gillespie, who had grocery bags in her arms, turned about 180 degrees and then crouched in an attempted to protect herself. But the man sprayed her directly in the face and continued to spray her methodically over her head and parts of her body as the bags draped off her arms. She turned around and retreated to the back of the elevator. The suspect then pulled out a barbeque-style lighter, ignited a rag in a bottle, then set the woman afire, causing smoke to fill the elevator. The man backed out as the woman fell to the floor of the elevator, and seemed to pause before tossing the bottle inside the elevator onto the woman. The assailant then left the building. WCBS news video embedded below:
Another news video is available on MyFoxNY.
Because the assailant was waiting on Delores Gillespie, there's speculation that the two knew each other. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne would not comment on the motive in the killing, but said the suspect knew his victim.
One neighbor said he heard loud screams before smoke started filling the hallways. The neighbor, identified as John, said he looked out his door and saw smoke coming out of the elevator, noting that it smelled like plastic or wire burning, like an electrical fire. As he raced downstairs, he heard popping sounds from the elevator shaft. Firefighters and police were summoned and responded, and some residents on the sixth floor were temporarily evacuated. One unnamed NYPD detective said “I’ve never seen any shit like this, and I’ve been doing this a long time”. Because the building and the elevator are equipped with video cameras, police got a good video of the man and believe they know exactly who did it. Furthermore, police believe the man appeared to have been burned on his face and hands, so they're alerting local hospitals.
Various media sources characterized Delores Gillespie, who is 73 years old and who lived with one of her adult sons, as a bit eccentric and paranoid, sometimes complaining that upstairs tenants were stealing from her. But she also had a reputation for giving toys and gifts to kids frequently. One neighbor said Gillespie, who lived in the building since the 1980s, was a postal worker.
Public Reaction: Check the comments on the media links embedded throughout this post; universal outrage, and many want to execute this guy the same way he killed the woman. Outrage also expressed on Stormfront. It would not break my heart if the cop that finds this guy was to "accidentally discharge" his service revolver.