Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Courthouse

It happened after full jury was selected in the former president's trial in New York
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2024 1:12 PM CDT
Updated Apr 19, 2024 4:31 PM CDT
Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Courthouse
New York Police officers inspect a backpack left at the scene where a man lit himself on fire in a park outside Manhattan criminal court, Friday, April 19, 2024, in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The full panel of 12 jurors and six alternates has now been seated in Donald Trump's hush money trial, with opening arguments expected to begin on Monday, reports CNN. But as that news from Friday was circulating out of Manhattan, a grim and bizarre twist developed:

  • "Just before the proceedings broke for lunch, a man set himself on fire in a park across the street from the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse where the trial is being held," reports the New York Times. The newspaper says he doused himself with an accelerant about 1:35pm as onlookers screamed. It was not immediately clear what his motivations were.
  • Bystanders and officers rushed to the park and used coats and fire extinguishers to try to put the blaze out before firefighters arrived, per the Washington Post. Four police officers received minor injuries and were treated.
  • The AP reports that emergency crews rushed the badly burned person away in an ambulance. He was hospitalized in critical condition, police said.

  • The New York Post identified him as a 37-year-old man, but authorities have not confirmed his name. He tossed pamphlets into the air before dousing himself, and the Post quotes from a "rambling manifesto" that refers to an impending "apocalyptic fascist world coup." The Times reports that some of the pamphlets referred to George W. Bush, Al Gore, and attorney David Boies, who represented Gore in the 2000 election recount.
  • NBC News reports the man set himself on fire inside a designated protest area for the Trump trial. "I see him dumping gasoline on his face, very deliberately," said witness Ed Quinn. "He had [a] gray T-shirt on. It soaked his face. It soaked his shirt. Boom, he went up."
(Another self-immolation incident took place in the US in February.)

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