ANAHEIM – Investigators have determined that a man whose body was found in a burning vehicle at an apartment complex earlier this month intentionally set the blaze that took his life, police said Tuesday.
Officers and firefighters responding to reports of an explosion and a burning vehicle at the Glen Forest Apartments in the 100 block of Westchester Drive during the early morning hours of April 5 found a car on fire.
Once the fire was extinguished, authorities discovered the body of a man they later identified as Shimon Shanil Kumar Phal, 23, in the driver’s seat of the car.
Based on their investigation, detectives believe Phal intentionally set the fire, leading them to classify his death as a suicide, Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn said Tuesday.
Neighbors reported hearing several explosions, someone screaming and the sound of the car’s ignition being engaged. One resident reported seeing a man in the vehicle but indicated that despite the fire, he did not attempt to get out of the car.
Relatives described Phal as a full-time student studying psychology at Cypress College.
By SEAN EMERY/ ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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