Garland community prays for clerk recovering from fiery attack

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on May 21, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Updated Monday, May 21 at 11:06 PM

Whip-In Convenience Store

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GARLAND — Nancy Harris is a mother and a grandmother.

She's also a friend to customers at a Garland convenience store who nicknamed her "grandma."

But Harris, 76, is also the victim of a heinous crime. Police say a man out for cash set her on fire Sunday morning.

Those who know Harris can't understand why, and neither can the suspect's mother.

The face of Nancy Harris made customers smile at the Fina Whip-In convenience store in Garland.

Across the street at Hair Creations, Harris' kindness never went unnoticed.

"She's so kind, and she's a good lady... a very good lady," said her friend and hairdresser Crystal Khuu.

Khuu has been cutting Harris' hair for nearly 20 years. Her last appointment was a week ago

"Every time, we sit here like a couple of hours," Khuu said. "We talk about family, about friends, about life and everything."

Now, Harris' friends are talking about the grandmother's recovery from serious burns to her face, head, and upper torso.

Police said Matthew Lee Johnson went to the convenience store on Sunday morning and cleared the register of cash. Before he left, he allegedly poured a flammable liquid on Harris and set her on fire.

"It's a very sick person," said one Hair Creations customer. "Who in their right mind would do something like that to such a sweet lady?"

Alma Johnson is also asking the same question. She saw her son the day before the incident.

"I'm sad about it," she said. "I'm sad and I'm disappointed."

The elder Johnson told News 8 her son has struggled with drugs, but now her thoughts are with Nancy Harris.

"That lady has been in my prayers," Johnson said. "I just pray that she pulls through and be all right."

Crystal Khuu is also praying for her friend. "I really hope she makes it."

Nancy Harris remains in critical condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Suspect Matthew Lee Johnson is facing robbery and attempted capital murder charges. His bond is set at $500,000.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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