DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A man with a history of mental health issues and making threats towards law enforcement died Wednesday morning after his van caught fire in the Daytona Beach Police Department’s parking lot.
Police say video shows the van pulling into the parking lot early Wednesday morning before it ignited.
Police identified the man Tuesday as 55-year-old Gilbert M. Sellers.
Daytona Beach Deputy Police Chief Jennifer Whittet says they’re familiar with Sellers, who had a home in Lake City, but lived out of his van in Daytona.
Whittet says he’s been Baker Acted at least three times in the past.
The Volusia County Bomb squad was called to assist in blocking off the police department’s front parking lot where the van and the man inside it caught fire.
“This vehicle pulls in for about two minute and stops,” Whittet said. “Then the vehicle just lights up in fire.”
Police say they heard an explosion they believed was the van’s tire popping, then saw Sellers exit covered in flames, collapse, and die.
Police don’t believe any mechanical issues are to blame for the fire, and no explosives were found on Sellers or in the van.
However, firefighters did find an unknown liquid inside a plastic container.
“All the mirrors, windows, everything was melted down,” Whittet said. “Barely anything you could tell what was left in the vehicle, besides ash.”
Police say Sellers had mental health issues, and made threats in the past to blow up the police department and the FBI building in Jacksonville.
“He had a run-in with his neighbors, and I don’t know if he thought he wasn’t getting the help he was looking for from police,” Whittet said.
Officers say Seller’s sister called Columbia County deputies to a well-being check just days before the fire.
“We don’t know if he intended to do what he did or intended to cause harm to anybody else,” Whittet said.
©2022 Cox Media Group