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Boulder man dies after setting himself on fire in front of Supreme Court

Friends said that Wynn Bruce was an environmental activist, and his neighbor said he was 'a sweet guy.'

BOULDER, Colo. — Wynn Bruce, a 50-year-old Boulder resident, set himself on fire in the plaza in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday night and died the next day, according to Washington, D.C. police.

On Twitter, a woman who said she was a friend of Bruce's who works at the Environmental Defense Fund said, "This act is not suicide. This is a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis."

On Bruce's Facebook page, he recently edited one of his posts related to climate change to include a fire emoji and the date April 22, 2022 – the day he set himself on fire, which was Earth Day.

Chris King was Bruce's next-door neighbor for about 20 years and said he saw Bruce almost every day.

"He was a very quiet person, kept to himself, lived alone, had a cat. He was, you know, a sweet guy," King said.  "He was a head-injury survivor from an accident he had when he was a teenager."

King said he dropped off Bruce at the bus last Wednesday while heading to Denver to meet with his meditation group. It was the last time he saw his neighbor.

In 20 years, Bruce never talked to him about his passion for environmental issues and never mentioned any plans to end his life, King said.

"I was stunned. One hell of a way to go," he said.

In a written statement released Monday, the leaders of the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center in Boulder, which Bruce attended, said they were grieving his loss and that they had no prior knowledge of his plans to set himself on fire.

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