The body was discovered behind a trash bin at about 3 a.m. and was still on fire when firefighters arrived. Firefighters put out the flames, but the body was severely burned.
"We walked down here and there was really a body," said Compton resident Myisha. "I have two kids, so I know, it's really, really scary."
The body was found right across the street from Compton High School, near Cocoa Street and Oleander Avenue.
"He's face down, his legs was up, he had no foot, they had already burned off, so it was just the remainder of his upper body on fire," Myisha said.
Investigators admit the fire is going to slow down the investigation, but added that the burned body is nothing new.
"We've come across these many times at homicide," said Lt. Lian Gallagher of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. "Some people, if they commit an act of murder, sometimes try to cover their tracks by lighting the body on fire."
The area has seen its share of violence, but residents are having a hard time coming to grips with the brutal nature of the crime.
"It's sad. I've been in Compton for basically all my life and I think this is the worst I've heard," said resident Anjela Turner.
"I hope it's nobody we know because that's terrifying news," said Compton High School student Delana Dunn.
Detectives believe the victim is a man, possibly in his 20s. The coroner will determine the cause of death and whether or not the man was set on fire before or after he died.
Anyone with information was urged to call the Sheriff's homicide division at (323) 890-5500.