Man who carried gas cans into New York cathedral charged with attempted arson

By Gabriella Borter NEW YORK (Reuters) - A 37-year-old man who entered New York's famed St. Patrick's Cathedral carrying two full gasoline cans, lighter fluid and lighters was charged with attempted arson on Thursday, police said

Reuters April 19, 2019 03:06:28 IST
Man who carried gas cans into New York cathedral charged with attempted arson

Man who carried gas cans into New York cathedral charged with attempted arson

By Gabriella Borter

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A 37-year-old man who entered New York's famed St. Patrick's Cathedral carrying two full gasoline cans, lighter fluid and lighters was charged with attempted arson on Thursday, police said.

Wednesday's incident occurred two days after a massive fire severely damaged the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, causing global shock and sorrow. That blaze was most likely the result of an accident though a major investigation is under way.

A New York City Police Department official said Marc Lamparello, a New Jersey resident, was charged with second-degree attempted arson, second-degree reckless endangerment and trespassing after he entered the Roman Catholic cathedral in midtown Manhattan just before 8 p.m. on Wednesday and was confronted by a security guard.

It was not immediately clear if Lamparello had a lawyer.

As Lamparello turned to leave the cathedral, police said, gasoline spilled from the cans he was carrying, causing cathedral staff to alert police officers stationed outside the church.

Lamparello told police he was taking a short cut through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue from Fifth Avenue to return to his van, which had run out of gasoline, according to John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the NYPD.

When police checked the vehicle they found it was not out of fuel, at which point the man was arrested, Miller said.

"An individual walking into an iconic location like St. Patrick's Cathedral carrying over four gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and lighters, is something we would have grave concern over," Miller told reporters on Wednesday.

The main entrance of the neo-Gothic cathedral, which has stood in the heart of Manhattan since 1879, is on Fifth Avenue. The cathedral faces Madison Avenue on its east side.

Lamparello has been a faculty member in the philosophy department at the City University of New York, but his name was no longer listed on the university's website on Thursday afternoon. He had booked a one-way plane ticket to Rome for Thursday, The New York Times and other local media reported.

Lamparello was charged earlier this week in Essex County, New Jersey, with resisting arrest, interfering with the administration of law, and trespassing after he "refused to leave" the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark on Monday at closing time, the county sheriff said.

Lamparello's alleged arson attempt at St. Patrick's comes only a few weeks after a man was arrested and charged with arson and hate crimes for burning down three predominantly African-American churches in Louisiana between March 26 and April 4.

St. Patrick's is considered one of the most important symbols of the Catholic Church in the United States.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York; Additional reporting by Andrew Hay in New Mexico, Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Leslie Adler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.