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Man Dies After Setting Himself On Fire Near Trump Trial Courthouse In NYC

A man who set himself on fire outside the New York City courthouse where former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial is underway has died, police said. 

Witnesses said that they saw the man — who the New York Police Department identified as 37-year-old Max Azzarello — pour liquid over his head and set himself on fire at 1:39 p.m. local time on Friday. 

In a briefing immediately after the incident, the NYPD said Azzarello, a Florida resident who had arrived in New York City earlier in the week, walked into Collect Pond Park, opened a book bag, and scattered papers and pamphlets on the ground before setting himself ablaze. Police described the materials as “like a conspiracy-theory type of pamphlet.” 

Azzarello then fell on a police barrier. Civilians and court officers used coats and extinguishers to try to put out the fire, the NYPD said, and the New York City Fire Department responded, finally extinguishing the fire. 

A police officer uses a fire extinguisher as emergency personnel respond to a fire outside the courthouse where former President Donald Trump’s “hush money” trial is underway in New York, April 19, 2024. 

The FDNY said that Azzarello was transported to New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, which has a burn center, in critical condition. 

The NYPD confirmed to CBS News overnight that Azzarello had died on Friday night. 

Four officers who responded to the fire suffered minor injuries.

Azzarello had also posted a statement on social media, officials said. Although the incident took place close to the court where Trump’s trial is taking place, officials said Azzarello did not appear to be targeting any particular person or group and added that he seemed to be a conspiracy theorist.

One witness described pamphlets that Azzarello threw, apparently while making allegations about New York University.

 “I heard this clattering, and it was those papers that he had flung up in the air,” the witness said. “That caught our attention and — caught my attention, anyway … then he pulled out a can and he poured it over himself. And at that point, I thought, ‘Oh … this is gonna be awful.” 

“It happened so fast — what do you do?” another witness said. 

CBS News 

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