04/14/2019 21:14 EDT | Updated 04/14/2019 21:16 EDT

Edmonton Whyte Avenue Suspect Charged With Setting Vehicles On Fire

The shocking scene unfolded near a busy bar and restaurant district.

EDMONTON — A burly, bearded man wearing a Hawaiian shirt is being praised for chasing and tackling a suspect who appeared to douse several vehicles with gasoline and set them on fire in Edmonton on Friday night.

Ross Lockwood, who was skateboarding with a friend in Edmonton's Whyte Avenue bar and restaurant district, said he pulled out his camera and began recording when he overheard someone exclaim that a person had just set another car on fire.

"There was a man wearing dark clothing carrying a jerry can full of gasoline. He was pouring the gasoline onto and by cars — parked cars — but more worrying, he poured it onto the hood of an occupied vehicle," said Lockwood, who posted his video of the incident on Reddit.

"The vehicle caught on fire."

The driver turned the corner and pulled over, Lockwood said, and people with fire extinguishers raced to put out the flames.

In the video, the man appears to hold the jerry can towards people on the sidewalk, who kept their distance.

Other videos posted to social media show the suspect setting other vehicles on fire.

"I think a lot of people recognized just how dangerous it is to try to intervene with someone who's got a full can of gas and a lighter, and no one took real action until it was safe to do so, and that's exactly what happened," Lockwood said.

Bystander tackled suspect

The video appears to show the man walking across the street, raising his arms and throwing the jerry can into the air as his backpack falls to the pavement. He then continues walking and waving at pedestrians.

Lockwood's video then shows someone wearing a Hawaiian shirt and jeans following the suspect into a Starbucks, trailed by someone carrying what appeared to be a plank.

"A man in a red Hawaiian shirt brought him to the ground, and after that, several others stepped in to aid the man in the red shirt and they held him until police arrived," Lockwood said.

Police said 13 vehicles were damaged but no one was hurt.

Ross Lockwood/Handout/Canadian Press
A man stands in front of vehicle holding what appears to be a gas can as fire burns on the hood of the SUV, in this still image taken from a video provided by bystander Ross Lockwood in Edmonton on April 12, 2019.

On Sunday, Edmonton police said Malice Sutton, 22, has been charged with several offences including arson and assault with a weapon.

Social media reacted to video with accolades for the man in the Hawaiian shirt. Some posts compared him to Magnum P.I. One Batman-themed meme had a picture of a spotlight shining into the air, but instead of showing a bat symbol, it had a Hawaiian shirt.

Lockwood has no idea who the man was.

"I have no background for the man in the red shirt, but I just want to say thank you for the actions that you took on Friday night," said Lockwood, who has turned over his video to police.