ATLANTA — For the first time, the family of a security guard who was burned when he jumped into action to try and save a protester’s life on Friday.
Douglas Harris’ brother, Michael Harris, was working security in midtown Atlanta when he got reports of a protester dumping gasoline on herself. When Michael Harris rushed to stop the protester, she set herself on fire. The fire engulfed Harris as well, leaving him with second and third-degree burns.
“My brother is doing well under the circumstances,” said Douglas Harris. “I was down there earlier today to see him. He’s in pretty good spirits. He’s just trying to wrap this whole thing around his head on what happened.”
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Channel 2 Action News cameras were on the scene Friday at the Israeli Consulate Building on Spring Street.
Atlanta police said the woman was wrapped in a Palestinian flag and was protesting outside the building when she intentionally set herself on fire.
Michael Harris’ family said his military instincts kicked in when he tried to intervene to save the woman’s life.
“My brother is an Army Veteran. As far as helping people. We were raised that way to help somebody. So, him doing that is not surprising for people who know him,” said Douglas Harris.
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Harris’ family sent Channel 2 Action News reporter Larry Spruill photos of the third-degree burns on Michael’s arms and hands.
“He has a burn on his hand. He has a burn on his leg between his knee and his ankle. He has another one on his ankle on his left side. He has some burns here” said Douglas Harris.
Romona Kea is Michael’s sister-in-law. She’s concerned this will affect him mentally.
“Post Traumatic Stress. Just the thought of it. He’s going to also need a mental evaluation in reference to that,” Kea said. “That’s just for anyone. If it was me, I would need some mental evaluation to have to deal with that.”
But they said things could be worse.
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“By the grace of God, that he’ll be okay in time. It’s going to take some time,” said Douglas Harris.
The Consulate General of Israel to the Southeastern United States released this statement:
“We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way. The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”
Harris has a long road ahead of him. His family started a GoFundMe account. Click here to donate.
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