New Jersey man arrested in New York’s St Patrick’s Cathedral with gas cans and lighter fluid two days after Notre Dame fire
Marc Lamparello, 37, who entered the church with two 2-gallon gas cans, wrote a defense of Trump after he was criticized by the French, police say
The man, who is known to police, was reportedly stopped by church security outside the church in Manhattan and taken into custody
Lamparello, a philosophy professor with links to the Catholic church reportedly gave ‘inconsistent and evasive’ answers when questioned
Arson suspect Marc Lamparello, [photo], is a PhD student and University lecturer
A New Jersey man who was caught walking into New York’s famed St Patrick’s Cathedral with gas cans and lighter fluid is a PhD student who once wrote a passionate defense of Donald Trump after he was criticized by the French.
Days after a blazing inferno gutted Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Marc Lamparello entered the Manhattan church with the two gallon cans of gasoline before being apprehended by security at around 8pm on Wednesday night. Police say four cans of gasoline were found in total after searching the suspect’s van.
37-year-old Lamparello is a Boston College-educated philosophy professor who has lectured at Lehman College and also held several roles in the Catholic church. He is listed as a doctoral candidate and adjunct lecturer in the City University of New York’s philosophy department.
Police say it is too early to say whether the incident was terror related but it comes two days after the fire at the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in France.
NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter Terrorism John Miller confirmed they had increased security at the site in recent days, The New York Post reports.
He called Lamperallo’s actions ‘very suspicious’.
At a press conference Wednesday evening he said: ‘It’s hard to say what his intentions were, but I think the totality of circumstances of 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 that we would have great concern over.’
The suspect pulled up in a minivan on Fifth Avenue and left the car. Around 7:55 p.m., he returned to the minivan and took out two 2-gallon cans of gasoline, a plastic bag with two bottles of lighter fluid and two lighters and tried to enter the cathedral, Deputy Commissioner Miller said.
“As he enters the cathedral, he is confronted by a cathedral security officer who asked him where he’s going, informs him he can’t proceed into the cathedral carrying these things,” Miller said.
“At that point some gasoline apparently had spilled out onto the floor.”
Two counterterrorism police officers outside were notified and caught up with the man on 50th Street, Miller said. “His answers were inconsistent and evasive,” he said.
“His basic story was that he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue, that his car had run out of gas,” Miller said. “We took a look at the vehicle. It was not out of gas.”
He was then taken into custody by security.
The suspect is said to have told cops he was cutting through the cathedral to get to his minivan, pictured right, which had run out of gas
The suspect has an active online presence and, in 2018, he criticized a news story about French people disliking President Donald Trump more than Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He wrote, ‘All I know is, if the French dislike us for something, we must be doing something right. They think they’re so much more sophisticated and culturally alluring than us. But secretly, they’re jealous of us and want to be us. Never forget that, fellow Americans.’
Lamparello’s brother Adam told The Daily Beast, ‘Oh my god. I’m shocked this could even be true. I’m almost speechless. This is something that is so not him. I don’t know what to even say.’
Police tweeted Wednesday evening: ‘We are investigating an incident at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Expect a heavy police presence. Update to follow.’
They later added: ‘Around 7.55pm, a man walked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan with gas cans and lighter fluid, and was subsequently apprehended by @NYPDCT without incident.
‘We thank our partners for their help, and remember – if you see something, say something.’
The archdiocese said the man was stopped as entered the landmark cathedral and there was no fire. ‘Nothing happened inside the cathedral’, they said.
The suspect who is known to police, is understood to have been taken into custody after being apprehended by security at the cathedral. NBC reports he is ’emotionally disturbed’.
After spilling some of the gasoline he is said to have left the church but was quickly found by nearby counter-terrorism police after church staff alerted them to the incident.
The suspect is said to have told security that he was cutting through the cathedral to get to his minivan which had run out of gas, giving them ‘inconsistent and evasive’ answers when questioned.
Miller said: ‘His basic story was that he was cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue, that his car had run out of gas. We took a look at the vehicle. It was not out of gas.’
Pictures showed a large police presence outside the church, which was open at the time of the incident.
Miller added: ‘There was some very good work done here, obviously by the St. Patrick’s Cathedral security officer who encountered this man immediately inside as well as the two police officers who tracked him down.’
A devastating blaze struck the 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday destroying the roof and spire.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which was built in 1878, has installed a sprinkler-like system during recent renovations and its wooden roof is coated with fire retardant.