OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A Southwest Oklahoma City man was beaten and doused in lighter fluid after two men broke into his home early Thursday morning. The victim can be seen on home surveillance footage screaming and running through his backyard after making a remarkable escape.
Derek Swingle woke up to a nightmare. At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday he was fast asleep at his home near Southwest 13th Street and Mckinley Avenue when two burglars broke in and started beating him.
“They were trying to rob my place, but they never gave me a chance to actually even show them what they were after,” he said. “They just hit me. They were demanding stuff.”
Swingle said these complete strangers – seen in his home security footage breaking in – kept asking for his guns.
“It was all kinds of commotion,” Swingle explained. “Every time I tried to look I’d get pummeled in the face.”
The chaos intensified further when he felt lighter fluid being poured over his body. Swingle told KFOR that at this point, his fight-or-flight instinct kicked in.
“All I felt was I’m asthmatic, and I felt the lighter fluid in my lungs and I just responded and all I knew is I have to move. I have to make noise. I have to get away,” Swingle shared.
Jumping out of his rear window, he screamed for help as he crossed his backyard and climbed over his chain link fence.
While the exiting burglars are seen in the video lighting his back door on fire, Swingle desperately ran into a neighbor’s home.
“I open the door and I walk in and I just start screaming ‘Help!’ and I scared this poor lady, her little dog, and that’s when she called the police and they came and took me to the hospital,” he said.
Swingle remains badly injured, but grateful to have lived to tell the tale.
“I got six stitches in the eye,” he said. “I got five stitches in the ear. I got a staple in my head. I got all kinds of cut up from jumping the chain link fence. I could’ve been burned alive. I got extremely lucky.”
Oklahoma City police are actively searching for the suspects. They don’t have strong descriptions of the two men, only believing one of them to be white and the other to be black.