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Man armed with blowtorch, axe, knife sets customer’s hair on fire at tea shop

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    BERKELEY, Calif. (KPIX) — A bizarre blowtorch attack in Berkeley ended when the victims subdued the attacker, but not before he pulled out a knife and an axe.

The surveillance video shows just how quickly it happened. A man in a backpack walks into a tea shop and immediately lights a customer’s hair on fire.

“He said something right before he sprayed, and it was kind of like an evil chuckle,” said Angelique, a witness who asked us not to further identify her.

Angelique said she and her friends had just stepped into the Feng Cha Teahouse in Berkeley and were standing in line when suddenly, a man chased some other people into the store, walked in the door, immediately sprayed WD40 on three men, then set a fire with a small torch.

“Once he ignited it, it just burst out into flames,” said Noel Nubla, of Berkeley, who was also sprayed with WD40 but did not get torched.

Nubla says it appeared the man was still trying to light his torch after the first attack, so the victims decided to try to restrain him.

“Once we got outside we were kind of just bumping fists. He got me in the face a couple times and then I got him back he started bleeding and then I took him down to the ground, saw him pull out the knife … I yelled out ‘he’s got a knife he’s got a knife!I’.” said Nubla. “I wanted everyone to back off. I saw it, I pulled him down, he got to the floor his hand was there, I stepped on his wrist pulled him up disarmed him from the knife.”

The victims say it never was clear why the man attacked them. He just kept yelling something about his daughter. Before the cops could arrive, the attacker surprised everyone and pulled out a hatchet.

“He was holding the axe and he was like just staggering around, and he was getting closer and closer and it was really scary,” said Angelique.

Police made a quick arrest. As for the young men, their hair was singed and they are a bit scraped up from the fight, but they are doing okay.

The victims insisted that race did not appear to be a factor in the attack.

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