A homeless man is facing attempted murder charges after a fight inside the Starbucks on Ocean Avenue near City Hall got out of control.

Police say Paul Dickson, 41, became upset with another customer around 10:25 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 20.  Dickson is accused of throwing an unknown flammable liquid onto the victim who is also homeless. Once the person’s clothes were wet, Dickson allegedly tried to set the victim on fire with a cigarette lighter, according to Lt. Saul Rodriguez with the Santa Monica Police Department.

The victim was not hurt and no fire was set.

With the police station just one block away, officers arrived quickly and took Dickson into custody. The coffee shop was shut down after it became a crime scene.

A look at Dickson’s criminal history reveals he is a registered sex offender after a 2002 conviction of performing a lewd act with a minor. In 2008, Dickson was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.

The Starbucks, located on the corner of Olympic and Main, is a popular spot with public employees as one of the few places to buy coffee near City Hall, the Courthouse and the Police Department. However, most of those workers had the day off Monday in observance of the President’s Day holiday.

kate@www.smdp.com