Man who entered New York cathedral with gasoline charged with attempted arson

By Gabriella Borter (Reuters) - A 37-year-old man was charged on Thursday with attempted arson, reckless endangerment and trespassing after he walked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City with two full gasoline cans, lighter fluid and lighters on Wednesday, police said

Reuters April 19, 2019 02:06:15 IST
Man who entered New York cathedral with gasoline charged with attempted arson

Man who entered New York cathedral with gasoline charged with attempted arson

By Gabriella Borter

(Reuters) - A 37-year-old man was charged on Thursday with attempted arson, reckless endangerment and trespassing after he walked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City with two full gasoline cans, lighter fluid and lighters on Wednesday, police said.

The 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 underway.

A New York City Police Department official said Marc Lamparello was charged with second-degree attempted arson, second-degree reckless endangerment and trespassing on Thursday after he entered the Roman Catholic cathedral in midtown Manhattan just before 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT) on Wednesday and was confronted by a security guard.

As the man turned to leave, gasoline spilled onto the floor and the guard alerted police officers stationed outside.

Lamparello is a resident of New Jersey and a faculty member in the philosophy department at the City University of New York, according to the university's website. Local media reported that he has previously been arrested in New Jersey for trespassing. He has no arrest record in New York, a New York Police Department official said.

It was not immediately clear if Lamparello had a lawyer.

Officers caught up with Lamparello on Wednesday and he was taken into custody after questioning, said John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the NYPD.

"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.

Asked if terrorism was a possible motive in the incident, Miller said it was "too early to say that" on Wednesday. But, alluding to worldwide publicity about the Notre-Dame fire, he added: "This is an indicator of something that would be very suspicious."

Lamparello's alleged arson attempt 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.

Lamparello told police he was taking a short cut through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue from 5th Avenue to return to his van, which had run out of gasoline, Miller said.

When police checked the vehicle they found it was not out of fuel, at which point the man was arrested, he said. "He is known to police and we are looking into his background. We don't know what his mindset was, what his motive was."

St. Patrick's, a neo-gothic church across from Rockefeller Centre, has stood in the heart of Manhattan since 1879 and is considered one of the most important symbols of the Catholic Church in the United States.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York, Andrew Hay in New Mexico, Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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.